An Anthropological Study of Factors Affecting the Construction of Sexuality in Ghana: Teenage Pregnancy, School Education and Virgins' Clubs
By: Angela R. Bratton (author)Hardback
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This study explores the formation of gender identity and the sexual practices of teens in Kumasi, Ghana within the context of the growing emphasis on formal schooling. Direct interviews with students, teachers and members of the community offer data on shifting conceptions of family, education, production and reproduction. This research explores the gender socialization that teens in Ghana experience today with the growing emphasis on schooling and the absence of puberty rites. At a time when it is difficult to get money for school fees, and in a culture where having children is pivotal to one's identity, the author investigates how teen girls in particular cope with schooling, sexuality, and teenage pregnancy. In order to explore these issues the author conducted participant-observation for a year in Ghana at three secondary schools, centering on sexual education, and at a Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana clinic. The author focused her interviews on female and male teenagers in school as well as teenage mothers who were not in school.
The expense of school, coupled with its growing cultural value, create financial burdens on parents, whose daughters frequently turn to 'sugar daddies' for supplemental income. However, in doing so they risk getting pregnant and being expelled from school. Furthermore, over time people have ceased to practice the traditional puberty rites that kept girls' sexuality in check. In an effort directed at HIV/AIDS prevention, queen mothers are now introducing Virgins' Clubs, which provide sex education and support to unschooled girls. I conclude that gender socialization emphasizes girls' responsibility for preventing teen pregnancy. They are taught that motherhood is valued when it is planned inside of marriage, but should not occur before they are financially independent and finished with school.
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- ID: 9780773435971
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