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Substantive representation of women: The case of Ghana's Domestic Violence Law of 2007

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Patrick Tandoh-Offin
Abstract:
This study investigates the role of civil society organizations (CSOs), especially gender-based groups in increasing the "substantive" representation or the perspectives, views, and concerns of women in public policy-making in emerging democracies. In the last 30 years, calls for equality in the representation of women have received a boost mainly because of the disparity between the proportions of women in national populations and in legislatures. In Ghana where women are about 50 percent of the population, women constitute only 8.7 percent of the 230-member parliament as of January 2009. Such disparities produce critical implications for women's empowerment and participation in public policy-making, especially in emerging democracies. Ghana's return to democratic governance in 1992 brought with it guaranteed freedoms and new avenues for participation by CSOs. Various civil society groups, including the women's movement have emerged to take advantage of the new avenues to organize and be part of the democratic process. However, there is yet to be a comprehensive analysis of the role these groups play in the democratization process, especially in increasing women's substantive representation and participation in Ghana, and so this study fills that gap. This mixed-method qualitative research applies a revision of John Kingdon's multiple streams framework to comprehensively analyze the activities of the women's movement to understand their motivations, goals, and impacts on the democratic process in Ghana. The archival information and also key informant interviews reviewed about the resources, strategies, and challenges faced by the women's movement in their advocacy for Ghana's 2007 Domestic Violence Law showed that such groups play vital role in democratization. A major finding from this study is that gender-based CSOs enhance avenues for attracting much-needed outside resources for institution and capacity building for both grassroots groups and official policy actors to improve the democratic process, especially in emerging societies. The study therefore argues that societies should recognize and support the development of CSOs to increase the avenues for participation by under-represented groups like women in the policy process. This position is more relevant in societies where women still have "token" representations or fewer than 30 percent women in legislatures, and where institutional inadequacies exacerbate an already precarious situation for women's participation in the policy process.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

TITLE PAGE ................................................................................................................... i ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................... ii DEDICATION ............................................................................................................... iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................ v LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... x LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ xi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ....................................................................................... xii CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................... 1 Overview of Research .............................................................................. 1 Research Question .................................................................................... 3 Objective of the Study .............................................................................. 4 Relevance of the Study ............................................................................. 5 Rationale for the Research ....................................................................... 8 Scope and Organization of the Study ..................................................... 15 II. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................. 18 Public Policy-Making in an African Context ......................................... 19 Representation of Women ...................................................................... 24 Quota Laws and Women’s Representation ............................................ 29 Electoral System Reforms and Women’s Representation...................... 33 The Case for an Alternative Approach ................................................... 37 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Gender Equality .................... 39 The Civil Society Movement in Ghana .................................................. 44 Domestic Violence in Ghana.................................................................. 49 Chapter Summary ................................................................................... 55

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Table of Contents (Continued) Page

III. METHODOLOGY AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK ....................... 58 Data Sources and Data Collection Methods ........................................... 59 Case Study Method ................................................................................ 60 Case Study Selection .............................................................................. 64 Selecting Key Informants for Interview ................................................. 64 Reliability and Validity .......................................................................... 69 Analytical Framework ............................................................................ 71 Public Policy Frameworks ..................................................................... 73 The Multiple Streams Framework.......................................................... 76 Limitations of the Study ......................................................................... 84 IV. ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS ..................................................................... 87 Overview of Ghana’s Domestic Violence (DV) Law ............................ 89 Multiple Streams Analysis ..................................................................... 91 Problem Stream in Ghana’s DV Law ..................................................... 92 Indicators ................................................................................................ 94 Focusing Events ..................................................................................... 99 Feedback from Existing Programs ....................................................... 104 Policy Stream in Ghana’s DV Law ...................................................... 107 Resources ............................................................................................. 109 Strategies .............................................................................................. 115 Political Stream in Ghana’s DV Law ................................................... 123 National Mood and Public Opinion ..................................................... 124 Policy Window ..................................................................................... 127 Policy Community and Actors ............................................................. 128 Elections and Change in Administration .............................................. 131 Window of Opportunity and Coupling in DV Law ............................. 134 Findings ................................................................................................ 136 Evaluation of the MS Framework ........................................................ 148 V. CONCLUSION .......................................................................................... 152 Summary of Findings ........................................................................... 152 Implications for Theory Development ................................................. 156 Policy Implications ............................................................................... 163 Conclusion and Future Research .......................................................... 166

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Table of Contents (Continued) Page

APPENDICES .............................................................................................................. 170 A: Key Informant Interview protocol.............................................................. 171 B: Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms Under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana ................................................................. 173 C: Some Major International Human Rights Instruments And Treaties ......................................................................................... 174 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 175

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LIST OF TABLES

Table Page 1.1 Post-Independence Regimes in Ghana ........................................................... 9 1.2 Women’s Organizations in Ghana before 1993 ........................................... 11 2.1 Women in the Parliaments of Ghana since independence ........................... 25 2.2 Percentages (%) of Women in National Parliaments Classified by Regions ............................................................................. 37 3.1 List of Women’s CSOs Whose Members Participated in The Key Informant Interviews ............................................................... 67 4.1 List of Selected Archival Data Sources Used for this Study........................ 88 4.2 List of Organizations and Issue Areas.......................................................... 95 4.3 Women in Parliaments by Year and Proportion in Population .................. 100

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page 1.1 Average Scores from Freedom House’s 2010 Analysis of Democratic Governance in Selected African Countries ........................ 14 3.1 Group Affiliations of Key Informants .......................................................... 68 3.2 A Modified Diagram of John Kingdon’s MS Framework .......................... 83 4.1 Support Systems Available to CSOs .......................................................... 113 4.2 Key Strategies Employed by CSOs and the DV Coalition ........................ 122 4.3 Sources of Obstacles Faced by CSOs ....................................................... 144

xii

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AWLA Africa Women Lawyers Association CHRAJ Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice CPP Convention Peoples Party CSO Civil Society Organization DOVVSU Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit DVA Domestic Violence Act DVB Domestic Violence Bill DVC Domestic Violence Coalition DWM 31st December Women's Movement FAWE Federation of African Women Entrepreneurs FIDA International Federation of Women Lawyers GFW Ghana Federation of Women GRAP Gender Research and Advocacy Program GRDC Gender Rights and Documentation Center ISODEC Integrated Social Development Center MOWAC Ministry for Women and Children’s Affairs NCGW National Council of Ghana Women NCWD National Council for Women and Development NETRIGHT Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana NGO Non-governmental organization NPP New Patriotic Party PNDC Provisional National Defense Council TWN Third World Network WACSI West African Civil Society Institute WAJU Women and Juvenile Unit WILDAF Women in Law and Development in Africa WISE Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment WLGF Women in Local Governance Fund WOMEC Women, Media and Change

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1 Overview of Research This study is an investigation on the role and place of civil society organizations (CSOs) and groups like the women’s movement, in the democratization processes, especially in emerging political systems. The study uses Ghana’s Domestic Violence (DV) Law of 2007 as a case study to highlight how gender-based advocacy groups are helping to increase women’s substantive representation - perspectives and concerns of women - in public policymaking, while also entrenching democratization in Ghana. Recent political and democratic events in Ghana offer useful lessons that could be studied comprehensively to understand the processes of democratization, especially in the developing world. For instance, the many avenues for CSO participation in public policymaking guaranteed by Ghana’s return to democratic governance in 1992, and how groups like the women’s movement, are working to entrench democracy, have had a positive impact on Ghana’s human rights record among the international community. Important theoretical basis for this study includes those that compare the proportion of women in society with women in legislatures around the world, and the implications any disparities in the proportions generate for equality, empowerment, and participation especially of women in the democratization process. The activities and participation of gender-based CSOs in agenda-setting and human rights reforms that resulted in the creation of the DV Law in Ghana in 2007, has been studied by researchers

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and scholars from backgrounds such as, sociology, law, political science and international development. This study applies a revision of John Kingdon’s multiple streams (MS) framework to serve as a lens for comprehensively analyzing the various accounts and documents that has catalogued the role and place of civil society in democratization and public policymaking. This study mainly focuses on the opportunities offered by evolutions in civil society for understanding the motivations with which groups such as the women’s movement in Ghana have represented women’s interests, views, and perspectives in the policymaking process in recent years. The study, a qualitative mixed-method approach, combines analyses of archival information with key informant interview responses as the main sources of data. The key informant interviews were conducted with individuals who were familiar or were involved in activities that resulted in the passage of Ghana’s domestic violence law in 2007. The participants included social science and civil society researchers in academia who are affiliated with the various umbrella groups championing women’s rights and gender equality in Ghana. The interviews were used to corroborate and legitimize the archival data sources. The archival data sources consisted of journal articles, research documents, and newspaper reports that catalogue the activities of the CSOs during the DV law reform process. The revision of Kingdon’s framework was done to make the framework usable or applicable to the Ghanaian and an emerging democratic environment.

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1.2 Research Question Using Ghana’s Domestic Violence law as a case study, this study explores the research question why is it necessary to have a comprehensive view of the efforts by (gender-based) CSOs to enhance the representation of women’s views and perspectives in public policy processes in Ghana? More specifically, how are gender-based CSOs organized, and what challenges do they face? What are the strategies and resources these groups employ in their advocacy efforts, and how have their achievements impacted Ghana’s democratic development at the national level? The usefulness in answering these questions is that such answers will highlight the expanded role of civil society groups in the democratization processes not only in the developed West, but also in developing societies like Ghana that are part of the third wave democratization (Huntington 1991). To answer the research question of whether it helps to have a holistic view of the activities of CSOs and their effects on the substantive representation of women in Ghana, this study proceeds on the following three propositions on what democratic processes can do to make CSOs viable partners. The first is that the democratization process that started in the early 1990s in Ghana has created opportunities for guaranteed freedoms and civil liberties that have allowed independent organizational forms to emerge and highlight under-representation of groups such as women in public policy processes. The second proposition is that the existence of civil society and gender-based groups provide avenues for more people, especially women, to be part of the democratization process from outside of formal political power arenas. The third and

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final proposition is that in the short run, society can adopt, recognize, and support CSOs to become a viable means for addressing gender imbalance in policymaking while efforts are made to increase the descriptive representation of women in Ghana in the long run. The proportion of women in the parliament of Ghana since the start of the fifth parliament of the fourth Republic in January 2009 stands at 9 percent.

1.3 Objectives of the Study The main argument of this study is that societies need to recognize and support gender-based CSOs to provide substantive representation for women in the policy- making process. This is because gender-based groups play significant roles in the democratic developments, especially in emerging systems where governance institutions are either nonexistent or are ill-equipped to ensure accountability and transparency. Through their associational life, CSOs have built credibility with regards to attracting and applying donor support to build capacity, educate grassroots, network with other organizations to pursue their agenda of increasing women’s representation in Ghana’s democratic process. In particular, this study specifically seeks to explore and highlight the factors that affect the activities of the women’s movement in their effort to increase gender equality in public policy-making in Ghana. The study also evaluates the resources and support systems available to CSOs and how these support systems enhanced or hindered the process to get the DV law passed. Ghana, like many other developing democracies

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presently, does not have quota laws at the national level to help elect women into the parliament. This study also seeks to organize and analyze the relevant information available about activities and outcomes of the women’s movement in Ghana that is helping to transform political and democratic developments in Ghana. In the process, the study also proposes that societies should recognize and support gender-based CSOs because of their potential for increasing the representation, perspectives and views of women in politics and public policymaking. This position is more important, especially in societies like Ghana where women still have token representations or fewer than 30 percent representation in the legislature. Ultimately, the study also evaluates the usefulness of Kingdon’s multiple streams framework as a policy analysis tool in policy fields like gender studies, and in emerging democracies like Ghana. This effort is intended to contribute to theory development for policy analysis, especially in developing country settings, to enhance discussions of gender issues, good governance and democratization.

1.4 Relevance of the Study An important goal of this study is to make a case for societies to create the necessary conditions for CSOs to develop, expand, and be incorporated into the public policymaking process because of their perceived agenda-setting potential. This study is particularly interested in understanding the motivations with which CSOs, such as the women’s movement in Ghana, are working to enhance avenues for representing the interests, views and perspectives of women in the policymaking process in recent years.

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The application of a revision of the MS framework as the main analytical model in the study is an attempt to achieve several objectives: First, different researchers who write about the evolving roles of women and civil society organizations in Ghana’s political landscape have independently identified most of the framework’s factors. Second, most of these archival information sources variously enumerate the conditions under which activities and strategies of the CSOs generate impacts on the public policymaking process, especially during the agenda-setting process. In this regard, there are research endeavors that trace the history of women’s movement in Ghana; Gadzekpo (2001) describes women’s use of the media and journalism even during colonial days that enabled society to rid itself of various myths about women in order to appreciate the essential role played by women in all facets of social and economic environment. There are others whose work focused on the cultural significance (Kessey 1997a), human rights (Darkwah, Amponsah and Gyampoh 2006; Anyidoho 2009) and women’s economic contributions to the overall national development of Ghana (Allah-Mensah 1998, 2001, 2005; Harrison 2004; Kessey 1997; Ofei-Aboagye 2000; Tandoh-Offin 2009). This study fills a significant gap by synchronizing different perspectives of the activities, strategies, and outcomes of gender- based CSOs with a common lens, the MS framework, as a way to enhance how society appreciates the role of CSOs in democratization. Furthermore, gender inequality also exists not only in political representation, but also in the gender, social and economic relations that affect or regulate the everyday livelihoods and interactions in societies. In the United States, even after the passage of

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the Title IX 1 laws of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 that sought to remove all forms of discrimination against women in intercollegiate athletics, and the ratification of various human rights conventions, social and economic inequities still persists in the American system (Passeggi 2002). Thus, it is refreshing to find that civil society institutions in emerging democracies provide avenues for women to become active participants in democratic and national development in the developing world. This study also contributes to literature development on CSOs by focusing on their importance in representing a very important demographic, women, in public policymaking and democratization. Finally, policy professionals and scholars need to recognize the relationship that gender inequality bears with other forms of inequities such as in paid and unpaid employment and earnings, and poverty in society. The reason is that a recognition and appreciation of any such relationships allow for the design of programs and policies that address political and other forms of inequalities in society. More specifically, this study makes the case for societies to develop and strengthen CSOs and other nonprofit social advocacy groups in the fight against inequality in women’s descriptive and substantive representation and other socioeconomic inequities. This study, among other things, highlights CSOs and their coalitions as important subsystems in the policy environment, and vital components of the democratization process, especially in the developing world.

1 Education Amendment Act of 1972, Title IX, Section 1681 (a). Accessed on December 10, 2010. Online at: http://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titleix.htm

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1.5 Rationale for the Research One important question that needs to be clarified at this early stage of the study is the question, why the focus on Ghana? Answering this question not only offers readers a clear understanding of the motivations and objectives for the study, but also strengthens and provides a direction for the study. It also contextualizes the study and the foundations of renewed involvement of CSOs in democratization, especially in emerging societies such as Ghana. Democratization in Ghana since independence from British colonial rule in 1957 has gone through critical evolutions. Such evolutions have generated important implications for associational life, for representation, empowerment and participation, especially of women in the public policymaking process. It is important to note that these evolutions are not peculiar to only Ghana, but has been a phenomenon among the majority of emerging democracies in Africa and the global South. Ghana attained independence from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957 and became a Republic on July 1, 1960, with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as the first president until his government was overthrown in a military coup in February 1966. The period between 1966 and 1992 were turbulent times for political and socioeconomic development of Ghana due to the constant interference by the military in the processes of democratic development and governance. All the three attempts at democratic governance that occurred between 1960 and 1992, listed in Table 1.1 below, were short-lived because of discontent among the military personnel with how civilian leaders handled the affairs of government (Abdulai 2009; Gyimah-Boadi 2004). The military governments, in most

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cases, targeted and persecuted local businesses and entrepreneurs, especially women who were perceived to be corrupt, and were blamed for the economic woes in the country.

Table 1.1: Post-independence Regimes in Ghana Years Regime Leader Government

1957 - 1966 Convention People's Party (CPP) K. Nkrumah Civilian 1966 - 1969 National Liberation Council (NLC) E. K. Kotoka

Military 1969 - 1972 Progress Party (PP): K. A. Busia Civilian 1972 - 1978 National Redemption Council (NRC) Acheampong

Military 1978 - 1979 Supreme Military Council (SMC) F. Akuffo Military 1979 - 1979 Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) J. J. Rawlings

Military 1979 - 1981 People's National Party (PNP) H. Liman Civilian 1982 - 1992 Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) J. J. Rawlings

Military 1993 - 2000 National Democratic Congress (NDC)

J. J. Rawlings

Civilian 2001 - 2008 New Patriotic Party (NPP) J. A. Kufuor Civilian 2009 - National Democratic Congress (NDC)

J. E. A. Mills

Civilian Source: Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA, Ghana),

“Democracy Consolidation Strategy Paper Addressing Ghana’s Democracy Gaps.” A publication of the IEA/GPPP, August 2008; p.21

The volatile political environment was also detrimental for the development of political, democratic, as well as socioeconomic and civic institutions (Gyimah-Boadi 2004). One group that suffered during the tumultuous times was the women’s movement (Manuh 1991; Prah 2004). It all started in the early 1960s when Dr. Nkrumah attempted to co-opt all women’s groups in Ghana into the women’s wing of his Convention People’s Party (CPP) and ended up banning all forms of women’s organization, except

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the CPP women’s wing. These policies of sidelining and limiting women’s organizing abilities in Ghana also affected the political economy, social integration and the development of social capital which are vital ingredients for a vibrant civil society development and participation in public policy-making (Allah-Mensah 2005). It is critical to recognize that Ghanaian women have historically been victims of suppression due to neopatrimonialism and patronage (Gyimah-Boadi 2004). Additionally, the patriarchal cultural practices and traditional norms that taught women to accept their position through the socialization processes and belief systems that perceive women as inferior beings also militated against women’s active participation in public policymaking in the past (Manuh 1991; Oppong 1973; Prah 2004). Similarly, some Ghanaian traditional customs do not permit women to partake in decision-making, especially in public. Suffice to say that the British colonial administrations greatly helped with the suppression and disintegration of Ghanaian women’s political agency through their lack of recognition, and limited roles for women in the governmental system (Gadzekpo 2001; Gyimah-Boadi 2004; Prah 2004; Tsikata 1989). In spite of these political and sociocultural challenges, Ghanaian women struggled to make significant impacts beyond the socioeconomic needs of their household and were involved in the public domain prior to, during and beyond colonization (Prah 2004). Ghanaian women, according to Tsikata (1989), were actively involved during the independence struggles and in the early days of postcolonial Ghana; they played key roles in supporting the CPP through financial contributions from their business and trading activities and grassroots movements. Manuh (1991) argues that women efficiently

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organized and garnered supporters for campaigns and rallies for the political parties, including Nkrumah’s CPP, where the agenda for organizing were beyond gender equality issues (Prah 2004). These early women’s organizational potential in Ghana resulted in the formation of groups such as the Ghana Women’s League (GWL), and the Ghana Federation of Women (GFW) which played significant roles such as sit-ins, marches and campaigns in the lead up to independence in the 1950s as shown in Table 1.2 below.

Table 1.2: Women's Organizations in Ghana Before 1993 Group name Year Formed

Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) Women's League 1951 Ghana Federation of Women (GFW) 1953 National Council of Ghana Women (NCGW) 1960 International Federation of Women Layers (FIDA, Ghana) 1974 National Council for Women and Development (NCWD) 1975 Federation of Ghana Women (FEGAWO) 1982 31st December Women's Movement (DWM) 1982 Development & Women's Studies Program (DAWS) 1989 Source: Mansah Prah (2004)

“Chasing Illusions and Realizing Visions: Reflections on Ghana’s Feminist Experience,” http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/files/prah.pdf

Additionally, there were negative economic ramifications that resulted from the hostile political and governance situation that was witnessed in Ghana between the 1960s and late 1980s by the women’s movement. Ghana’s per capita income of $262 in the late 1960s was one of the best in Sub-Saharan Africa (Sossou 2003). However, the 1970s saw sharp declines in the gross domestic product and per capita income while inflationary

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tendencies became prevalent, resulting in devaluation of Ghana’s Cedi against the major currencies like the Dollar. The targeting and persecution of business owners, local entrepreneurs (who were mostly women), resulted in limited opportunities for business development, low productivity, budget deficits and difficult terms of trade for the country’s primary product export on the world markets (Sossou 2003). The external donor community, human rights advocates, and international financial institutions instituted measures both to deal with the unstable political environments and their impacts on governance and socioeconomic development in Ghana (Clarke and Manuh 1991; Sossou 2003). Meanwhile, the prospect of returning to democratic governance in the early 1990s after over a decade of military dictatorship under Fighter Pilot Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings and his Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), was seen by the women’s movement and civil society generally as a new opportunity for changing the fortunes of the woman. As a result, Ghanaian women, through the National Council for Women and Development (NCWD) and other gender-based CSOs, fully participated in all the processes that ushered in the 4 th Republic such as the Consultative Assembly and the Constitutional Commission that drafted the new constitution (Saunders 2002). The new constitution arrived with renewed hope for the women’s movement through guarantees, such as the freedoms for association, civil society organization, and the multiplicity of avenues for unrestrained participation in public policy (Abdulai 2009). The mere availability of constitutional provisions meant to promote women’s rights have not been enough to remove all discriminatory sociocultural practices that militated

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against women’s active participation in the Ghanaian society. The women’s movement in Ghana has engaged in massive organization to bring public attention to issues that affect women and children, such as violence, maternal health, property rights, employment and income discrimination (Clarke and Manuh 1991; Ninsin 1989). The combined effects of Ghana’s return to democratic governance, the freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution, and the enhanced opportunities for CSO participation have propelled Ghana to be a model for emerging democracies in the global South. As indicated in Figure 1.1, Ghana ranked first in three of four factors used by the Freedom House 2 in 2010 to evaluate democratic governance in 32 democracies in the global South which also included 12 African countries. Ghana’s average score from the four factors (Accountability and Public Voice, Civil Liberties, Rule of Law, and Anticorruption and Transparency), 4.79 out of seven, was the highest not only among the 12 African countries but among all the 32 two countries that included Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. Apart from Ghana, other African democracies like South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Liberia, and Tanzania all ranked higher than democracies in other regions such as Nicaragua, Bahrain, and Nepal on the average scores used by the Freedom House to evaluate democratic governance around the world. The comparisons are important because governments in African where the public policymaking process also have opportunities for enhanced civic participation, electoral system reforms and media independence,

Full document contains 204 pages
Abstract: This study investigates the role of civil society organizations (CSOs), especially gender-based groups in increasing the "substantive" representation or the perspectives, views, and concerns of women in public policy-making in emerging democracies. In the last 30 years, calls for equality in the representation of women have received a boost mainly because of the disparity between the proportions of women in national populations and in legislatures. In Ghana where women are about 50 percent of the population, women constitute only 8.7 percent of the 230-member parliament as of January 2009. Such disparities produce critical implications for women's empowerment and participation in public policy-making, especially in emerging democracies. Ghana's return to democratic governance in 1992 brought with it guaranteed freedoms and new avenues for participation by CSOs. Various civil society groups, including the women's movement have emerged to take advantage of the new avenues to organize and be part of the democratic process. However, there is yet to be a comprehensive analysis of the role these groups play in the democratization process, especially in increasing women's substantive representation and participation in Ghana, and so this study fills that gap. This mixed-method qualitative research applies a revision of John Kingdon's multiple streams framework to comprehensively analyze the activities of the women's movement to understand their motivations, goals, and impacts on the democratic process in Ghana. The archival information and also key informant interviews reviewed about the resources, strategies, and challenges faced by the women's movement in their advocacy for Ghana's 2007 Domestic Violence Law showed that such groups play vital role in democratization. A major finding from this study is that gender-based CSOs enhance avenues for attracting much-needed outside resources for institution and capacity building for both grassroots groups and official policy actors to improve the democratic process, especially in emerging societies. The study therefore argues that societies should recognize and support the development of CSOs to increase the avenues for participation by under-represented groups like women in the policy process. This position is more relevant in societies where women still have "token" representations or fewer than 30 percent women in legislatures, and where institutional inadequacies exacerbate an already precarious situation for women's participation in the policy process.