Du vin nouveau dans la vieille outre familiale
Collection : Documents de travail
n° 215, 2014, 25 pages
West Africa was long known for its high fertility rates and early marriages, explicit characteristics of gender inequality (with a considerable age difference between spouses, polygyny, and early fertility for women devoted almost exclusively to reproduction and housework). African women today are significantly more educated, urbanized and informed by the media than their mothers. An abrupt cultural leap has been made in a single generation. A number of studies and surveys show a rapid change in nuptiality and fertility rates, and in the organization of family living arrangements. New behaviour and ideas are emerging, challenging the norms and practices that govern relationships between the sexes, in the private and public sphere alike. Drawing on Demographic and Health Surveys, this article demonstrates the effect of gender relations on demographic behaviour in four countries in West Africa, Benin, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria.