Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 113–132

Marital Stability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do Women’s Autonomy and Socioeconomic Situation Matter?

  • Baffour K. Takyi
  • Christopher L. Broughton


One key hypothesis that has received considerable attention in recent family discourse is the notion that improvements in women’s socioeconomic circumstances (also called female autonomy) has a positive effect on familial processes and outcomes such as marital instability. Absent from this debate are cross-cultural research that test the applicability of these findings with non-U.S. data. We use representative data from Ghana to explore whether dimensions of women’s autonomy have the hypothesized positive effect on divorce processes in Africa. Consistent with findings from the United States, results from our African data demonstrate that women’s autonomy has a positive effect on divorce. This observation is true not only with the use of conventional autonomy measures such as work and education, but also with regard to institutional measures of autonomy such as matrilineal kinship ties.


Africa divorce Ghana marital instability women’s autonomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baffour K. Takyi
    • 1
  • Christopher L. Broughton
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of AkronAkronUSA

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