Can i own land in my matrimonial home? A gender analysis of access to and ownership of agricultural land in Northern Ghana, Ghana


Land is a key player in wealth creation, power, social status and a primary source of agriculture globally. Due to the importance of land to ‘man’, access and ownership has become contentious in many societies. Gender concerns have become an issue with respect to land accessibility and ownership. Limited studies exist as to whether or not women who are married can own land in their matrimonial homes. Using a single case approach, 78 respondents involving chiefs, tendanas (earth priest), household heads, clan heads, married men and women were recruited for the study. The results revealed that women do not own land because they do not sacrifice to the spirits of the land/gods; hence, do not satisfy the ultimate qualification to own land. For access and use of agricultural land, the study found that traditionally women have access to land for farming through their husbands and the tendana. Again, the study revealed that divorcees rely on their families for land while widows may have access to their late husbands’ farm land provided they accept a levirate or through their male children. The study recommends that the local authorities such as the chiefs, tendanas, and women leaders should collaborate, legislate by-laws, and embark on education and re-education on socio-cultural practices that debars women access to productive resources. Moreover, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should consult relevant stakeholders on the formulation of policies and laws on women’s economic empowerment.

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Fig. 1

Source: Author’s construct (2020)

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Source: Author’s construct 2020


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The author wishes to thank the respondents for their information. The author is also grateful to David Wullo-Dire and Gordon Yenglier Yiridomoh for assisting in the field data collection discussed.


The manuscript was solely funded by the author.

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Correspondence to Samuel Ziem Bonye.

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The respondents consent were sought and they agreed before participating in the interview. Before starting the interview, they were explained to about the rationale of the study to solicit their views as important stakeholders on Gender Perception of Access to, and Ownership of Agricultural Land in Northern Ghana.

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Bonye, S.Z. Can i own land in my matrimonial home? A gender analysis of access to and ownership of agricultural land in Northern Ghana, Ghana. GeoJournal (2021).

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  • Gender
  • Access and Ownership
  • Matrimonial
  • Agricultural Land
  • Northern Ghana