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)


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Participation in politics is a very important factor for the democratic progress of any society. It is a fundamental prerequisite of democratic quality. Ideally, democracy aims to preserve and promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, achieve social justice, foster economic and social development of the community, strengthen the cohesion of society, and enhance national tranquility (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1997). Consequently, when people participate in decision making within a political entity, governments are more effectively held accountable, constitutionally guaranteed rights are enforced, and individual and community demands are better represented within the policy process. Participation in politics thus ensures the realization of democratic objectives within a political entity. A strong and effective local government is one of the most inimical elements for ensuring quality good governance and strengthening local government bodies. The local representatives of local bodies based on democratic ideas can promote the greater socio-economic emancipation of the people of the country, and this largely depends on the maximum utilization of citizens, both men and women, for its overall development. In Ghana, though women comprise more than half of the total population, the status of women is much lower than men in every sector of the economy. Democracies around the world make special provisions to promote women’s participation and reduce barriers to their meaningful participation. With the re-emergence of conservative trends, the mandated participation of women in local governments could be an important vehicle for driving change in the country’s political landscape. The participation of women in local government is critical for the legitimization of decision making processes. When women participate in local government, it enhances the legitimacy of the government, ensures fair representation of society in elected offices, and impacts the policy agenda by strengthening the ability of women to deal with related issues in society (Markham, 2013). The issue of women’s participation in local government is as much human rights centric as matters of political rights. Every individual has the right to participate in decision making processes that define his or her life. When women participate equally with men in local government, it ensures that the female perspective is effectively incorporated into policy decisions. Globally, there have been historic trends of women’s exclusion from politics. This is as a result of “multiple structural, functional, and personal factors that vary in different social contexts across countries. From the local to the global level, women face several obstacles to participating in political processes. Structural barriers, through discriminatory laws and institutions, and capacity gaps like lack of education, contacts, and resources, have led to the under representation of women as voters, as well as in leading positions (UN-Women, n.d). In Ghana, the lack of gender analysis in the Ghanaian economy and the invisible role of women in Ghana, in particular, have a historical connection with the gap in women’s participation in local governance. Thus, the premise upon which the study is undertaken.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Over the years, there have been a number of efforts and programmes to enhance women’s participation in local politics, especially in the developing world. Ghana has not been an exception owing to the numerous advocacy and capacity building activities that have been tailored towards improving female participation. But as a matter of fact, we need to first know what the true conditions of women in local areas or at the sub-national levels are before any meaningful interventions can be made. Most women in Africa still live and work in conditions under which they are treated as mere instruments of production and social reproduction. Their status and rights are, in many respects, even more marginalized than women elsewhere in the world, who, even if they are subordinated to patriarchy, suffer it largely within the confines of the household. This may not be the entire predicament facing women. Since we can not know without finding out, I believe a study of this nature may explore other issues related to women’s representation, offer some clues and shed more light on the subject matter. Besides, there has been an over concentration on women as a whole without regard to the special problems that are peculiar to women from different parts of the country. We may not get a truer picture of the issue of women’s participation if we put all of them in one ‘big pot’ and treat them as though their circumstances were exactly the same. Perhaps, we could appreciate the different situations of women in Ghana by an assessment of George Orwell’s popular statement about all animals being equal, even though some are more equal than others. That is why this study will be looking into the issue of women’s participation in both the Northern and Southern parts of Ghana with a view to finding differences through comparisons and the reasons underlying the differences regarding the number of women in the assemblies.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate Women Participation In Local Governance (A Case Study Of Ashanti Mampong Municipality, Ghana). Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. To find out the extent to which women are successful in local government elections in Ghana.
  2. To examine the rate at which females appointed to the various assemblies.
  3. To examine factors that hinders women participation in local governance.

1.4 Research Hypothesis

  1. HO1: The extent at which women are successful in local government elections in Ghana is Low.
    H11: The extent at which women are successful in local government elections in Ghana is High.
  2. HO2: Socio-economic status and cultural practices does not contribute to women’s low participation in Ghana.
    Hi2: Socio-economic status and cultural practices does not contribute to women’s low participation in Ghana.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The findings from this study will be relevant to all the arms of the government and to the citizens of Ghana. The study will enlighten women on the importance of participating in politics and contesting for positions in the Assemblies. Findings from the study will enhance mass awareness of the need to water down or totally eradicate cultural practices and ideologies which hinder women’s participation in local governance. Furthermore, the study will empirically contribute to the body of knowledge, serve as a reference material, and be extremely beneficial to students and researchers who may be interested in conducting further studies related to the topic.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this study borders on the investigation of Women Participation In Local Governance. The study is however delimited to Ashanti Mampong Municipality, in Ghana.


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research

Financial Constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time Constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Local Government:

Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state.Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government.

Participation:

Participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.

Governance:

Governance is “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented”.


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


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

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