Female labour force participation in Ghana: The effects of education

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Sackey, Harry A.
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African Economic Research consortium
To participate in the labour market or not to participate appears to be an issue of survival for women in the Ghanaian economy. Parallel to the rising trend in female participation rates, there has been a tendency towards a decline in fertility. At the core of these patterns has been the schooling factor. This study uses data from the Ghana living standards surveys with demographically enriched information to estimate female labour force participation and fertility models. We find that female schooling matters in both urban and rural localities; both primary and post-primary schooling levels exert significant positive impact on women’s labour market participation, and have an opposite effect on fertility. We conclude that although the gender gap in education has become narrower over the years, it is important for government policy to ensure the sustainability of the female educational gains obtained. Arguably, this is the key mechanism for enhancing female human capital and productive employment with favourable impacts on perceptions of ideal family size and fertility preferences.