Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Regina O Smith

Committee Members

Gwynne Kennedy, Decoteau Irby, Larry G Martin, Liliana Mina


Empowerment of Women, Female's Literacy, Formal Literacy Education, Generational Illiteracy, Ghanaian Adult Literacy, Women's Illiteracy


The topic of women's literacy is prominent, current issue throughout the world. In the villages of Ghana, west Africa, most women have not experienced a basic elementary education. Although Ghana has free and compulsory education, several factors influence a woman's ability to pursue formal educational learning. According to the 2008 statistics of UNICEF (2011), regarding the literacy rate of adult women in Ghana (females age 15 and above), 59.30% remain illiterate while the rate of illiterate men (males 15 age and above) is 19.4%. Most households in the rural areas of Ghana do not recognize the importance of literacy education for women simply because multiple generations have never learned to read or write. This low level of literacy has a negative impact on the women of the villages, which influences their families and communities (Darkwah, 2010).

This generational narrative inquiry study focused on rural women's non-participation in already established adult literacy programs in the villages of Ghana. There is much information about women who are part of literacy programs, their successes and their struggles. However, for those women who are not part of any literacy program, little research information is available. In order to fully address the educational needs of illiterate women in rural Ghana villages, a comprehensive assessment, taking into wide consideration the influences that may propel or hinder women to partake in adult literacy programs, was - and remain - essential for initiating adult literacy.