IRI Gender Assessment Reveals Shortcomings in Ghana’s Political Environment for Women

Accra, Ghana—This week IRI completed the first part of a two-phase examination of gender inclusion in Ghana’s electoral and political framework, in advance of Ghana’s general elections on December 7. The preliminary results of this assessment, conducted by a group of high-level African and North American stakeholders, indicate significant barriers in the political environment as it relates to women in Ghana.

“The delegation commends the Government of Ghana for appointing women in key executive positions and taking a step towards addressing women’s historical marginalization,” said IRI’s Regional Director for Africa John Tomaszewski. “However, our assessment of the pre-election environment indicates that women remain underrepresented in Ghanaian politics. We are encouraged by the civil society organizations that have supported and implemented programs to enhance women’s leadership opportunities, and we encourage politicians to take proactive steps along these lines to improve women’s political participation.”




Mooya Nyaundi: Staff Attorney for Sub-Saharan Africa, American Bar Association Center for Human Rights
Olufunke Baruwa: CEO, Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund
Dr. Jenny Okello: Commissioner, Electoral Commission, Uganda
Dr. Pindi Chana: Secretary Political and International Affairs, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Tanzania
Robina Namusisi: Resident Program Director, IRI Tanzania
Hellen Muchunu: Program Manager, IRI Kenya
Jacob Price: Program Assistant, IRI Africa Division


This assessment was undertaken as part of a pre-election assessment project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. The project began in August with a joint Pre-Election Assessment Mission in partnership with the National Democratic Institute. IRI also partnered with 72 Africa to host a peace summit in Tamale to promote interfaith dialogue and support proactive measures to promote communal peace.

This gender assessment was initiated in response to findings from the pre-election assessment mission, where delegates expressed concern regarding several high-profile gender-based attacks on women’s political and electoral participation, and Ghanaian stakeholders shared fears that the election outcome would not be representative of the overall population. The methodological approach of the assessment focused on understanding cultural attitudes towards gender equality; coverage of women candidates in the media; and the impact of socio-economic factors and the legal and administrative framework on women’s participation in political processes.

As part of the second phase of the gender assessment, IRI will deploy observers on Election Day to collect data on women’s electoral participation. This will form the basis of a final report analyzing women’s participation throughout the process, and provide additional recommendations for increasing inclusiveness.

The delegation thanks the following stakeholders for sharing their views: the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection; women presidential and parliamentary candidates; political party leaders; civil society organizations; media representatives; religious and traditional leaders; and development organizations.



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