Investigation Of Women Participation In Local Governance (A Case Study Of Ashanti Mampong Municipality)

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Investigation Of Women Participation In Local Governance (A Case Study Of Ashanti Mampong Municipality)


Abstract


This study focuses on the investigation of women participation in local governance (A Case Study Of Ashanti Mampong Municipality).The historical subordination of women especially in public life has been widely discussed and efforts are being made globally to reverse this trend. Ghana is not insulated from this global trend. Thus, this study selectively focused on examining women’s participation in local governance in Ghana, an attempt to find out factors accounting for their low participation and the opportunities that exist to promote their effective involvement. The main objective was to ascertain the level of women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality. Both probability and non-probability sampling techniques were used to select 180 respondents. The study revealed that out of 13 government appointed members of the Assembly; only 3 were women. Also, 93.3% of the total memberships of the unit committees in the Municipality are men with women constituting only 6.7%. The study further revealed key stumbling blocks preventing women from actively contesting local elections. These include high illiteracy rate among women, lack of interest and faith in politics, cultural barriers, inferiority complex, religious barriers and lack of support from men (husbands). It was also encouraging to note that there exist two major support structures that assist women to participate in local level elections .These structures include National Commission for Civic Education and Action Aid Ghana’s Upper West Regional Rights Program. The study therefore recommended among other things; the need for an affirmative action to pave way for increased numbers of women in local government structures, all hands to be on-deck to encourage women to take advantage of the 30% reserve appointed membership of the Municipal Assembly, government should endeavor to appoint a woman as a Municipal Chief Executive, curriculum of basic schools should be revised to include gender issues, build capacities of women to nurture their confidence and provision of credit facilities to support women centered enterprise. Finally, the study recommends the implementation of more poverty alleviation programs such as Village Saving Loans Association, Women in Agriculture, that target women and women groups should be undertaken by government and NGOs to improve the economic situation of women.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 Scope of the Study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.8 Definition of Terms
  • 1.9 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The quest for pro-poor economic development and democratization have led to a rousing worldwide recognition that good governance requires effective and efficient planning and implementation of policies and programs (Mohammed, 2015; Huq, 2016). This is dependent on the active involvement of its citizens in the process of decision-making. Moreover, active participation in governing process by vulnerable groups such as women is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development in developing countries (Huq, 2016). Their involvement will lead to local representation of a body based on democratic ideas. This emanates from the belief that a true democratic country must have genderbalanced representation in local governance such that they can all share their experiences and make inputs in the development decision (Ohene-Konadu, 2001:2).

Women constitute slightly more than half of the world’s population (Population Reference Bureau, 2011). Their contribution to the social and economic development of societies is also more than half as compared to that of men by virtue of their dual roles in the productive and reproductive spheres (Bari, 2005). Women have different vision and concepts of politics owing to their sex and their gender roles as mothers. Therefore, women political participation is valued not so much for who they are, but for what they can do as a group to enhance their livelihoods and status (Bratton and Mattes, 2000). The overall development of a country therefore, depends upon the maximum utilization of women; such that they can all contribute to the development process based on their experiences (Ohene-Konadu, 2001).

However, in Africa, women participation in formal political structures and processes; and decision making regarding the use of societal resources remains insignificant. Besides, the ineffectiveness of policies is often attributed in parts to the non-participatory approaches that are adopted in the development and implementation of projects and programmes (Mohammed, 2015). One key area of non-participatory approaches that has characterized the development activities of many African states is the marginalization of women in decision making process. Women have traditionally, been marginalized from the structures of state that determine political and legislative priorities (Ndlovu and Mutale, 2013). This has implications for unbalanced development as the views of significant segments of society will not be fairly considered or their potentials not optimally utilized in the development process.

In Ghana, available data indicate that women comprise more than half of the total population (GSS, 2010). However, their status is much lower than that of their male counterparts in every sphere of public life. Hitherto, women were identified with domestic life as child bearing and managing household chores, while politics especially is viewed as a male dominated public activity that is typically masculine in nature (Ofei-Aboagye, 2000). Also, discriminatory practices, social norms, and cultural perceptions that women are not well suited for leadership and decision-making positions, combined with family and child-care responsibilities, discourage and limit women’s involvement in politics (Asian Development Bank, 2014). Literature (e.g. Ofei-Aboagye, 2000; Ndlovu and Mutale, 2013) suggest that participation, when well-practiced to include women without disparity in governance raise their spirit to actively demand probity and responsiveness from government and also in the pursuit of their civic rights and responsibilities.

Recognizing the significance of women’s participation in decision–making, governments the world over, including Ghana, have initiated efforts to widen the scope of women’s participation in development process especially, at the local substructures of governance (Baah-Ennumh, 2005). As a strategy of affirmative action for providing the structural framework for women’s participation in political decision–making, the government of Ghana made a directive since 1998 that 30% allocation of appointed membership of assemblies should be given to women. This represents a remarkable attempt in meeting the international aspirational target that at least 30% of national parliament should be occupied by women (Asian Development Bank, 2014).

Besides, the last two-decades witnessed a growing recognition of the importance of women participation in decision-making and how they can contribute as a group to politics (Minolette, 2016).This recognition in Ghana has resulted in endeavors in varying degrees by the government, non-governmental organization, as well as civil society groups to promote women’s participation in the institutions of power (cited in Ohene-Konadu 2002). Specifically, Ghana started ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and has endorsed the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (1995) as well as the Millennium Development Goal (3) with the aim of improving women participation in decision making (Quansah and Essien, 2014). The purpose of these initiatives is to improve upon women participation in the government process of the state.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

One prominent feature of the slow pace of development in Sub-Saharan Africa is the low participation of women in spheres of decision-making (Huq, 2016). Women as a group share a historical deprivation of political rights in the form of taking part in decisions that govern their lives. Throughout the world, women are less represented and less likely to be involved in the formulation and implementation of development planning and policies (Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 2009). On the other hand, their male counterparts have dominated in the structures of decision-making since creation (Ohene-Konadu, 2001; NDPC & UN, 2012; United Nation Women Report, 2013).
Despite the pronounced commitment of the international community to gender equality and to bridging the gender gap in the formal political arena, reinforced by the United Nations Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979) and the Beijing Platform of Action (1995), women’s representation in the legislature remained very low, ranging from 4.6% among the Arab states to 16.8% on the average among European Countries (Lindberg, 2004). In Africa, Idea International, (cited in Lindberg, 2004) posited that, women parliamentarians occupy 12.8% seats in 2002. Rwandan’s parliament has women majority in the legislature. Females hold an unprecedented 64% of seats in Rwanda’s parliament, more than any other country in the world (Sekemana, 2013). Nevertheless, there is a persistent gender gap in politics with an average of only 18.4% women in the world parliaments (UNDP, 2010). In Ghana, women comprise 51.3% of the total population (2010, PHC Report). Even though decentralization started before independence, the Provisional National Defense Council (P.N.D.C) Law 207 established Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs) in Ghana. Initially, 110 MMDAs were created and subsequently 60 more Assemblies were added making it 170 in 2004. Following the 2010 population census, the Ministry of Local Government created additional 51 MMDAs, which consequently increased the number to 216 MMDAs in the country. According to Ofei-Aboagye (2000), the aspirations that underpin the efforts of decentralization were to; provide more responsive, equitable and participatory development; bring government and decision– making nearer to the people and quicken the processes, strengthen financial, human resources and policy management; and serve as a training ground for political activities. Despite these developments, women representation in local government structures continues to be low. Women candidature increases from 384 in 1994 to 547 in 1998 and subsequently 965 in 2002, elected women assembly members also increased to 341 (7.4% of elected assembly members) as compared to 188 (5%) and 124 (2.7%) in 1998 and 1994 respectively’(Ofei Aboagye, 2000 cited in Agyeman-Duah, 2008).

Although the participation of women in local governance differs across the country, their participation in local level politics remains a major challenge in the Wa Municipality. This is particularly worrisome especially when one observes that in 2006 there was a reduction in the number of both appointed and elected female members in the Assembly. The reduction is statistically presented as follows: from 3 elected women out of a total of 25 Assemblies in 2006 to 1 elected assembly woman out of a total of forty-four (44) Assembly members in 2010 (Issahaku, 2012). A recent study conducted by Arthur et al. (2016) has identified cultural and socio-economic factors as major drawbacks to women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality. This is a clear indication that women participation in local government politics in the Wa Municipal has not witnessed anysignificant improvement despite the contribution of past studies in line with the factors limiting their active participation in politics.

Notwithstanding cultural diversity, institutional dynamics and current trends in development imply that such barriers may vary across space. This brings to the fore, the difficulty for analysts to clearly point out the institutional factors limiting women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality. A situation where continuous increase in male dominance in the Wa Municipal Assembly among both elected and appointed members becomes the order of the day is worth studying. The study will add to the existing debate on women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality as espoused by Arthur et al. (2016). The study therefore focused on the institutional factors responsible for the low level of women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality. The following research questions were therefore asked.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigation of women participation in local governance (a case study of Ashanti Mampong Municipality).

Specific objectives include:

  1. To assess the factors that account for women’s participation in local governance.
  2. To examine the challenges that confronts women’s election or appointment into the Ashanti Mampong Municipality.
  3. To ascertain peoples’ perception and how that influence women participation in local government.

1.4 Research Questions

This research seeks to answer the following questions

  1. What factors account for the low level of women participation in local governance in the Ashanti Mampong Municipality?
  2. What challenges do women face in their election or appointment to participate in local governance in the Ashanti Mampong Municipality?
  3. How does peoples’ perception influence women’s participation in local governance?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The path to decentralize local government in Ghana, witnessed the overconcentration on men participation without an in-depth analysis of the ramifications that led to fewer elected or appointed women in local government. This underpins the need for the research. At the heart of this study is to unearth the motives for use of the 30% quota system for appointing women into Assemblies. In the context of gender and development, quotas are mechanisms to compensate minorities and vulnerable members to just be represented in the Assembly, with their ulterior motive of introducing formal rules for female selection and representation (Mahamadu, 2010). The 30% reserve appointment of females into Ghana’s Assemblies appears to be the same. Also, the study adds on to existing knowledge the position of women in local governance in the Ashanti Mampong Municipality. Based on this, gender related policies; programmes and projects could be designed and implemented by government, non-governmental organizations and other development agencies as well as gender activists to promote women’s participation in governance. The study ends with recommendations, as solutions to the problem of low women’s participation in local governance. It serves as an eye-opener to various institutions and their activities aimed at enhancing the positions of women in decision-making at the local level. Again, individual women and women groups can exploit the opportunities, which this study will expose for them to take advantage of in order to enhance their status in local level decision-making, especially utilizing the 30% quota reserved for women. Finally, the outcome of the study leads to a compilation of a comprehensive research report (thesis) that contributes to existing debate of gender representation in local governance. On that basis the study serves as a source of reference to other studies in many related areas in the field of social science.


1.6 Scope of the Study

Geographically, the study was restricted to the electoral units in the Wa Municipality. The contextual scope of the study was limited to women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality. It entails an exploration into the influencing of women participation www.udsspace.uds.edu.gh 9 local government politics in the Wa Municipality. In the process, more attention was given to the institutional factors that influence women participation in politics at the local government level, ways of promoting women participation, and the contribution of women to the development of Ashanti Mampong Municipality.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

This study was constrained by some factors. Firstly, the time frame allocated for the completion of this study was not enough for the researcher to extensively carry out research based on the theme of this research work. On the other hand, the research participants were not willing to participate in responding to the administered questionnaire of this study. Also, the required materials like journals and articles needed for the proper completion of this study were not readily available online and offline. All these constraint put together, ultimately determined the extent to which researcher was able to go in this study.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Governance:

The process of interactions through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society over a social system (family, tribe, formal or informal organization, a territory or across territories).

Local Government:

A generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-localised and has limited powers.

Municipality:

A single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate.

Public Participation:

Different mechanisms for the public to express opinions—and ideally exert influence—regarding political, economic, management or other social decisions.

Politics:

The set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status


1.9 Organisations of the Study

This research work is categorized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), background to the study, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms.
  2. Chapter two encompasses the conceptual review theoretical review and empirical reviews on which the study is based.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

A situation where men hold primary power, and dominate in political leadership came out visibly during the survey. At the party level, although respondents agreed that the creation of women wings within the structure of the political parties did not limit their horizon to such positions alone, they felt that indirectly, women were being told to concentrate on such reserved positions within the party structure. Their argument was against the backdrop that very few women or none at all are elected into executive positions within the party structure apart from the specific roles created for them. This is explained by the male dominance among the electorates of the various political parties. This also highlights an interesting twist to the motive behind some affirmative action policies. Clearly, respondents indicated that even though the manifest intent of creating women wings is to help increase the number of women assembly persons in local governance, the latent objective is to restrict them to positions with little influence. A respondent views were captured as follows:

“The gender stratification of positions within the local government and party structure is unfavorable for women across all the political parties in the Municipality. Positions like Municipal chief executive, presiding member, regional chairman, secretary among others are seen as positions for men; the best role women could get within the local government structure is to deputize a substantive male officer, a role with marginal influence within the structure”. Another important reason that came out of the discussions was ageism where young women compared to young men are seen to be unfit regardless of their qualifications. This view was expressed by a key informant. The open disapproval of young women in politics continues to reinforce the endemic prejudices against women. It is obvious that the issue of discrimination against the female gender is not limited to the power blocs within the political circles but extends to important institutions like the media and the cultural orientation of majority of Ghanaians including women themselves. According to one respondent, the nature of socialization that is passed down to the younger ones is such that everyone is made to believe men should naturally be in leadership positions while females remain at the core of domestic work.

Respondents who had participated in grassroots politics, contested parliamentary elections but failed to win their seats were very emphatic that the 1992 Ghanaian constitution discriminates in some respect against non-MPs. The respondents quoted article 78 clauses 1 and 3 of the 1992 constitution to buttress their point. Article 78(1) reads:
“ministers of state shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of parliament from among Members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, except that the majority of ministers of state shall be appointed from among members of parliament”. In article 78 clause 3, it continues: “a minister of state shall not hold any other office of profit or emolument whether private or public and whether directly or indirectly unless otherwise permitted by the Speaker acting on the recommendations of a committee of Parliament on the ground, 3(a) that holding that office will noted not prejudice the work of a minister”.

These provisions in the views of the respondents impose some restrictions on getting more women in the executive arm of government. Their argument was that because there is already disproportionate representation of women in parliament, that constitutional provision tend to favour majority of men than women. While article 78 clause 1 which is the provision relating to the appointment of ministers of state is not in itself discriminatory against women, it limits the executive powers of the Presidents to reach out to the majority of women who are outside parliament. The respondents further stated that the fact the constitutions says a minister of state shall not hold another public or private but tends to grant powers to the Speaker to allow MPs to be appointed as ministers is in itself discriminatory and women are the worse hit.


5.2 Conclusion

From the aforementioned analysis of the study, the impact of both individual and institutional or systemic factors towards the enhancement of women’s participation in local governance has been illustrated. The issues of individual financial resources, marital status, social capital, and education, membership of organizations or association, good neighborliness among others stressed the self-motivational and individual supply elements of the theory espoused under the study. On the other hand, structural or institutional factors like cultural and religious beliefs equally had some impact on the electoral fortunes of candidates. From the findings, there were more male recruits into the Wa Municipal Assembly than their female counterparts. It is however worth mentioning that, local governance provides a window of hope for women to serve at the national level of governance. However, myriad of factors underpin women low participation at the local level elections. It is important to recognize that, thenegative stereotype and perception about women participation as well as social capital was the major contributory factor to their poor performance at the local level elections.

The study also revealed that, more women are now ready to come out to stand or contest elections which were not the case some ten (10) years ago. Majority (90%) of women respondents indicated their desire to contest the District level elections. This implies that, the public education work of the NCCE and the numerous sensitizations of various civil society organizations went down well with majority of the people in the Municipality. This corresponded with the view expressed by the respondents that women must be given room to participate in governance especially at the local level.

Women however need to be proactive and put in a lot of efforts such as participating in community development activities, undertake good neighborliness, be assertive among other attributes to be able to participate in local governance. Hard work, commitment, development stewardship and social capital in respect of good neighborliness are core values that contribute to women electoral success, especially the only female elected assembly woman of the Konta electoral area.

Also, the study revealed high illiteracy rate among women participation in decisionmaking. The struggle for increased women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipality is a long one considering the socio-cultural and economic constraints for women. There is however light at the tunnel, as the research findings indicated that, over 90% of the respondents perceived women as people who can make proactive decisions and need to be given a place in governance at the local level. With continues support of stakeholders, including government, NGOs and CSOs as well as the media, projectingwomen leadership and supporting them to deliver. To ensure effective women participation in local governance in the Wa Municipal Assembly, concerted efforts and action is needed from multi-stakeholders in realizing an increased number of women in local government decision-making structures.


5.3 Recommendation

The study points to the fact that, systematic and continuous training and empowerment of women through micro-credit finances, workshops, radio discussions, refinement of obnoxious cultural practices and change in perceptions and attitudes towards women, has a positive impact for enhancing their image in decision-making at the household, community and local governance levels. This therefore suggests that, all promotional institutions especially NCCE which aim at enhancing the status of the vulnerable and excluded, should give credence to efficient flexible people centered strategies and programs that will take them from their current social, political and economic subordination.

On the basis of findings from this study, the following recommendations were proposed: Special funds should be established with the Electoral Commission (EC) as an independent arbiter to sponsor identified political activities including political campaigns for women candidates. This fund should be backed by law with statutory allocations to ensure the constant flow of resources. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is not proposed because it is the EC that registers the political parties, takes custody of their audited accounts and has deeper information about their national representation in accordance with the Political Parties Act.

National affirmative action policy should be adopted and signed off by all political parties to affirm their commitment to its implementation. Women groups should commit to using this policy as strong basis for national political elections.

Political parties should introduce a policy exempting women from paying for nomination fees at both the national and local levels.

As part of the constitutional review process, a consideration for amendment of article 78 (1) should be adopted to give an open door to the President of the Republic of Ghana to make more appointments of women into political offices.The monitoring of hate speech by the West African Foundation for Media should include in it, “name and shame” programme during elections to openly criticize media organizations which attack the personalities of women without any basis. Finally, women themselves should defy the odds at breaking the exiting patriarchy by resisting any form of insults, vilification and labeling and offer themselves for national political positions.


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