GENDER, POLITICAL CULTURE AND SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY IN NORTHERN GHANA: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THREE CAPITALS
Globally, nationally and locally, the issue of men and women’s equal participation in politics and decision-making has now been well recognized. Thus, academics, researchers, philosophers, gender activists, women’s groups, international conventions and declarations as well as regional and national bodies have been depositing their respective opinions as to how gender parity can be achieved in national and local level decision-making structures. However, it is justifiably clear that despite all these efforts, gender parity in national legislatures, District/Municipal/Metropolitan Assemblies (DMMAs) and public life remains a thorny issue especially in Ghana even though Ghana is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. Evidentially, Ghana is also among the first countries in Africa to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of women in politics and decision-making toward national development. In 1960, for instance, Ghana instituted the People’s Representation Bill which enabled ten women to gain seats in parliament. This study thus examines the question of gender, politics and decision-making in Ghana’s democratic dispensation. The main objective of the study is to understand how political culture facilitates the inclusion of men and women for sustainable democracy in Ghana. A cross-sectional design also termed as quasi-experimentation or quasi control design was applied in the study in the three capital cities of Northern Ghana. Questionnaire, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were the main tools used to collect empirical data. Data analysis was qualitative and quantitative. Results of the study indicated that in the three northern regional capitals, women have a low representation in politics and decision making due to a number of factors: socio-cultural, illiteracy, finance and religious. This did not however apply to men. The conclusion is that women are prepared to have their voices heard in the decision-making processes of the three regional capitals in DMMAs and other structures that provide the opportunity. Recommendations made were with regards to promoting the education of women, adoption of strategic frameworks and strengthening the capacities and confidence levels of women.
Keywords: Gender, Political culture, Sustainable democracy, Men’s political participation, Women’s political participation
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