Gender inequalities in manufacturing : a case study of food-processing and the textiles and garment industries in Ghana
Gender inequality is deeply entrenched in society. This continues to restrict women's opportunities in life and has also been widely seen as an obstacle to economic development. Wage employment is seen as important mechanism for empowering women, and also conferring benefits on the family and society as a whole. This thesis examines patterns of inequality in the food-processing and the textiles and garment industries in Ghana, the structural factors that are responsible for producing gender inequality and their impacts on the socio-economic advancement of women. Within the cross-sectoral case study, a comparative gender and social relation analysis was undertaken to explore the factors that determined the allocation of economic resources and nature of power relations within the labour market and the household. The study of occupational segregation, access to training, career advancement opportunities, decision-making authority and responsibilities, earnings and domestic responsibilities led to the conclusion that, comparatively, the majority of women do not have equal opportunities in the "feminised" food processing and textiles industries in relation to men. With some inter-sectoral variations, the disparity between men and women is also widened as a result of the influence of the size of firm. The processes are complex because they are intertwined with wider socio-demographic, cultural, economic, and legal elements. However, within this complex set of factors, employers' preference and taste for discrimination is arguments concerned with the issue most central to gender inequality in these industries. These preferences are based on the economic rationality of profit maximisation and production efficiency, which is in turn intertwined with the cultural stereotypes concerning men and women's abilities and their attitudes to work. Recommendations to address the structural inequalities which exist between men and women in these industries and in Ghanaian society as a whole are set out.