It is all about livelihoods: A study of women working in stone chip production in Cape Coast Municipality, Ghana
Outcrops of granite in several localities in the urban and peri-urban fringes of Cape Coast Municipality in Ghana have led to stone chip production becoming a major livelihood strategy for vulnerable and poor women. Previously, this work was primarily carried out by men, but today female workers dominate the workforce, and increasingly it is seen as a way for women to seek a viable living in conditions which are otherwise marginalized and poor in economic terms. The demand for stone chips has increased with the high demand for construction materials for housing in the town of Cape Coast. However, the women's choice of livelihoods strategy (stone cutting) prevents them from gaining other experiences from more lucrative processes. Hence, as stone cutters, they are disadvantaged within the increasingly commercialized economy. Against this background it can be argued that a feminization of poverty is taking place. The data for the study were derived through structured and unstructured interviews, focus group discussions and direct observation, and analysed according to a livelihoods framework.