Impoverished Ghanaian youth often experience minimal early learning opportunities and under-funded, over-crowded, and woefully inadequate schools. Female youth face even more formidable challenges as a result of sex stereotypes and other forms of gender discrimination in education. This combination of factors also predisposes them to significant risk for dropping out of school and reduces their chances to attaining postsecondary education. Using ecological theory and a risk and resilience framework, we examined gender differences in risk and protective factors for academic outcomes in a sample of 276 Ghanaian youth recruited from 4 colleges in the northern and southern regions of the country. t tests and regression analyses revealed significant gender differences in risk and protection in relation to the presence of a school mentor, parental educational values, and delinquency at p<.05 significance level. Presence of a school mentor and poor neighborhood safety were significant but inversely related to achievement while region of residence predicted female achievement (Beta = .360, p <.01). Implications for practice and policy are discussed.