The contribution of women’s organizations to the changing roles of women; the case of selected women’s organizations in the Ashanti Region

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Gender disparities are prevalent in Ghana and closing the gender gap and enhancing women’s participation in development have been on the heart of governments for some time now. Women actors as individuals normally face a diversity of problems, challenges and hindrances, which considerably limit their performance and contribution to national development. Looking at their underprivileged position, a number of women in Ghana are mobilizing themselves in women’s organizations to improve their social, political and economic circumstances. How efficient are these organizations as instruments for enhancing women status in society. In recent times however, some women are playing certain roles that are outside the traditional ones. It is thus important to investigate the activities of women’s organizations to know the extent to which they have contributed to these changing roles. The research adopted the cross sectional approach, specifically a case of some selected women’s organizations in the Ashanti region. Data was collected from both primary and secondary sources. Semi -structured interviews and individually administered questionnaire were used to seek information on the objectives, activities, and mode of operations and challenges of the various organizations from the various group leaders. Information was also sought from members of the organizations through interviews, individually administered questionnaire, informal discussions and participant observation. Some personnel at institutions that are into gender were a1so interviewed for their inputs into the study. A combination of purposive, proportional stratification and convenience sampling techniques were used for this research. In selecting the organizations to be studied, the total number of organizations in the two districts was identified from a sampling frame listing of women’s organizations provided by NCWD, Kumasi, and the Department of Community Development, Ejisu. The list of those that were functioning was therefore derived and stratified into social, economic and religious based on their principal aims - and objectives and background. Based on factors such as the research objectives, and the constraints of’ time and money, the proportional stratification and purposive sampling technique were used to select fifty percent from each stratum. in all, twenty-one women’s organizations were selected, fifteen from the Kumasi Metropolis and all the six registered in the Ejisu-Juabeng district. The convenience sampling technique was used to select some members of the organizations to be interviewed. Women’s organizations exist in various forms with different objectives and activities all aimed at improving the status of women. It also came out that, the activities of some women’s organizations have altered some of the factors that determined the inferior positions of women and hence their roles. There are also some women’ organizations that only exist as social groups that have not make much impact on the roles of women. it was also observed that, difference exist between women’s organizations in rural and urban areas in terms of their activities and operations and the level of impact they have made towards the changing roles of women. Women’s organizations in the Ashanti region face many challenges not only in relation to the discharge of their duties but also to their very survival. Among other things, lack of adequate resources and finance as well as the rising cost of training qualified personnel imply that the women’s organizations can provide services to only a few women in the society. With a little attention and support, women’s organizations can further enhance the status of women in Ghana.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2005