Participation of Women in Local Level Elections in the Afigya-Kwabre District of Ghana: Can this be a Better Example?
Generally, participation of women in local government elections has been lower than other elective positions. For instance, few women in Ghana and other neighboring countries such as Togo and Cote d’Ivoire have the courage to contest elections at the local level and subsequently emerging as winners for positions of the assembly. This is indeed a challenge to democratic governance in particular and nation-building, in general. This study therefore sought to explore the issue of women participation in local level elections in the Afigya Kwabre District using a descriptive exploratory design. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to select 67 respondents for the study. Questionnaires and interview guide were used to solicit the views of respondents on the issue. The study revealed that women’s participation in local in the district was low. It was observed that factors such as inadequate funds, inferiority complex, fear and intimidation and cultural beliefs impinged on women’s participation in local governance. Some societal perceptions that may affect women who partake in elections include the fact that they become disrespectful after winning elections; they refused to perform domestic duties; not natural leaders and become proud when they are in positions. Some of the benefits of women’s participation in DAE are promotion of the welfare of women and children, gender balance in the District Assembly, facilitation of community development as well as serving as training ground for women. A number of measures such as the use of incentives, proper affirmative action, improved gender education and gender equality could be used to promote women’s participation in local level elections in the district. It is recommended that the District Assembly should properly collaborate with the Ministry of Local Government and Development, the Ministry of Gender Protection and Social Welfare as well as the Development partners to design policy programs and initiatives that will be tailored towards improving poverty levels among women in the country through capacity building programs for women. The government should effectively collaborate with civil society organizations to put in place effective measures including financial incentives, public education, affirmative action and gender education programs in order to improve participation among women during local level elections in the district. The National Commission for Civic Education should be adequately resourced to discharge its mandate of educating people on their civic rights and responsibilities.
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