Concepts, Research, Policy
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Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 16: Post-adjustment, Post-mitigation, 'Post-poverty’? The Feminisation of Family Responsibility in Contemporary Ghana
16 Post-adjustment, post-mitigation, ‘post-poverty’? The feminisation of family responsibility in contemporary Ghana Lynne Brydon In the early 1990s I carried out research in villages and towns in Ghana on the ‘grassroots effects of adjustment’.1 Drawing on experience from previous work in Ghana the aim was to explore ways in which the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescriptions for fiscal stability and economic growth (‘stabilisation’ and ‘adjustment’) had affected the lives of people in a range of different communities, or not (Brydon and Legge, 1996). Having had experience of a time ‘before’ the take-up of World Bankbacked policies, the fieldwork was conducted in several Ghanaian communities, both those my colleague and I already knew, and in others, both urban and rural, to understand and elucidate an ‘after’ state of affairs. The main focus of research was trying to understand people’s lives after about eight years of structural adjustment in Ghana; to find out just what was going on. In addition, I was particularly interested in women’s lives: their education, work, family responsibilities, how they managed to make ends meet, and the juggling of responsibilities. In addition to Ghana being seen, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as a ‘model adjuster,’ it was also one of the countries whose progress the World Bank chose to monitor closely. This began in 1987 with the first round of Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS), compiled by the Ghana Statistical Service. This was a series of annual large-scale surveys with a rolling...
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