Domestic violence, including economic abuse, is a global problem with far-reaching implications for women. Economic abuse occurs when an intimate partner deprives or threatens to deny their partner access to, and control of, financial and economic resources. Emerging evidence indicates that women in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, experience high levels of economic abuse, and that it takes many forms. Notwithstanding, academic research on this topic remains scant, and very few studies document women’s lived experiences with economic abuse.
This study used in-depth interviews to explore the causes of economic abuse among 16 women in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, and the Upper East regions of Ghana.
Results indicate that economic abuse is a common experience for Ghanaian women. Women narrated experiences of economic exploitation, deprivation, and sabotage. While some women had had their employment sabotaged by their male partners, others had experienced financial extortion by their partners. Husbands’ extramarital affairs, lack of interest in the family or apathy, alcohol use, jealousy, and some socio-cultural factors were major causes of these types of abuse.
Policymakers need to implement programmes that educate women on the causes of economic abuse and empower them to be economically and financially self-sufficient.