Economic and social costs of violence against women in Ghana: Technical report
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Asante, F., Fenny, A., Dzudzor, M., Chadha, M., Scriver, S. Ballantine, C.,... Duvvury, N. 2019. Economic and Social Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls in Ghana: Country Technical Report. Galway: NUI Galway.
Socio-economic costs of violence against women and girls in Ghana Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread human rights violations. VAWG is a significant social, economic and public health problem. Globally, 35% of women have experienced physical/sexual IPV or non-partner sexual violence in their lives. We know that this violence has implications for women’s health and wellbeing; however, we have less understanding about the impacts of VAWG on communities, businesses, and the national economy. While it has been estimated that violence against women and girls costs the global economy about US$8t, there are few studies, particularly of developing countries, that outline the national-level economic costs of such violence. Similarly, few studies explicitly analyse the social costs of VAWG. In recognition of the dearth of knowledge on these impacts and costs, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded research to investigate the social and economic costs of VAWG in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan (2014–19), as part of its wider What Works to Prevent Violence research and innovation programme. A consortium, led by the National University of Ireland, Galway, with Ipsos MORI and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) and working in collaboration with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, undertook a mixed-methods study to estimate the economic losses caused by VAWG as well as the non-economic costs of violence that impact on economic growth, development and social stability in Ghana. A National Advisory Board, composed of stakeholders and policy-makers, also provided input to the research, ensuring the relevance of the findings to the Ghanaian context. Methods This study used a mixed method approach including both quantitative surveys of individual women, households and businesses, and qualitative inquiry methods including key informant interviews, participatory focus groups, and individual in-depth interviews. An overall sample of 2002 women was drawn from 84 primary sampling units across the main ten regions of Ghana. In addition, 805 employees and 27 managers were surveyed in businesses in Accra and Kumasi. In order to estimate economic costs, statistical analysis was performed to ascertain direct costs (out of pocket expenditures due to VAW) and indirect costs (productivity loss due to absenteeism, presenteeism and tardiness). Thematic analysis of qualitative data added depth and context to the findings. Assumptions and Limitations An important assumption in the study is that any type of violence (economic, psychological, physical or sexual) has negative impacts for women experiencing such behaviours. We have therefore explored the economic impacts of any behaviour of violence across the different locations that women experience violence. The study has several limitations that need to be acknowledged. First, the costs estimated in this study are not comprehensive given the narrow focus on tangible costs. Thus the estimates provide only a partial estimate of the costs that are incurred by individuals, households, communities and the overall economy. Second, to extrapolate national costs, we assumed that the unit costs derived from the women’s survey are representative of costs in regions not covered in this study. Third, national estimates extrapolated from sample data can result in overestimates or underestimates depending on the representativeness of the sample as well as cell size for variables of interest. Estimates presented in this report must therefore be seen as an indication of the impact of VAWG and not a full accounting. Nevertheless, the contribution of knowledge from this project on the social and economic costs of violence, though incomplete, is an essential first step in making the economic case for investment in activities to prevent, reduce or eliminate VAWG.
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