Obstacles to gender parity in political representation: the case of the Ghanaian parliament

Tenu, Cheerful (2019) Obstacles to gender parity in political representation: the case of the Ghanaian parliament. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis seeks to determine the factors that may affect the representation of women in Ghanaian politics by focusing on women’s representation in parliament, and in particular, elite attitudes about women’s representation. The study first (1) analyses traditional (mostly Western) explanations for women’s (lack of) presence in politics; and second (2) situates these explanations within the Ghanaian context; and third (3) examines data obtained from a survey of legislators in Ghana, to assess the role of elite attitudes about gender discrimination and the types of factors parliamentarians perceive to influence women’s representation in politics in this country. My analysis suggests that gender disparities in Ghana’s politics stem from a combination of political, socio-economic and cultural factors, thus reinforcing the findings of the literature (Inglehart and Norris, 2003, p. 127; Kittilson and Schwindt- Bayer, 2013; Norris, 1989; Shvedova, 2005). Furthermore, the results from the survey data suggest that cultural factors often become formidable hindrances to gender parity in Ghana’s political democracy. Because of the role of culture in influencing women’s presence in formal politics, the study recommends that further assessment is needed in order to better understand the potential of affirmative action (specifically, imposed quotas systems) to promote women’s political representation in Ghana. As many studies of gender and politics show, without institutional change, the presence of women increases only very incrementally, even in places around the world where cultural factors may be less of a hindrance. This study contributes to the wider discourse on gender and politics by providing a framework for understanding the factors impeding Ghanaian women’s efforts in participating in politics.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14094
Item ID: 14094
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-97).
Keywords: Gender parity, politics, representation, women
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: September 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Women--Political activity--Ghana; Representative government and representation--Ghana.

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