Effects of empowerment of women on role changes in Ghana: the case of Nanumba North District

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Women’s empowerment is a contemporary issue espoused across the globe. This is shared by many as the surest way of making women play an active role in the socio-economic and political spheres of national, district and community development. The role of women in society especially their participation in economic and political activities have been a subject of interest among varying groups including governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs’) and individuals worldwide. Gender disparities in terms of access to economic and political opportunities are widespread in Ghana, which limit women roles to the traditional level of caring for children and attending to domestic activities. The study sought to examine the effects of women’s empowerment (both socio-economic and political) on the role changes in the Nanumba District in the Northern of Ghana. The research strategy adopted was the case study approach. Sources of data included the primary and secondary with interviews, observations, discussions and questionnaire administration employed as data collection methods. Probability and non-probability sampling were adopted. On the part of probability sampling, the simple random approach was use to select a man and woman to be interviewed in all the 110 households visited. Purposive sampling (non-probability), on the other hand, was used to collect relevant information from some opinion leaders, two financial institutions, the District Assembly and four women groups in the district. The study revealed among other things that, women’s political and economic statuses are still low in the district. These limit largely, the roles they play to the traditional level of caring for children and domestic chores, while men assume the breadwinning role. However, women are building networks and also investing in trade and farming to improve their living standards. Through these efforts, women are now taking care of their children education and health needs and also providing food for the family as individuals and in groups. Challenges such as bad road network, lack of support for mounting political platforms, religious beliefs, difficulty in accessing loans and low media platforms are confronting women in the District. In addressing these challenges, some policy recommendations have made which include: strengthening public sensitisation through institutions such as NCCE and NCWD on vital roles women when can play, pro-poor intervention like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty should be revised to include more women and the girl-child and also women networks should be encouraged in the Districts.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science Development Policy and Planning, 2014