Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Magnus Mfoafo-M'Carthy

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Shoshana Pollack

Advisor Role



This transnational feminist study described and interpreted the experiences of women within the context of community development in rural Ghana. The purpose of this study was to empirically ascertain the barriers faced by women within the community development processes in rural Ghana. With this goal, women from three randomly selected rural communities in Ghana were sampled and interviewed. A concurrent triangulation mixed method research design was adopted. The main instruments used were a questionnaire and an in-depth interview for the collection of the quantitative and qualitative data respectively. A total of two hundred women participated in the study.

The findings implicate Western influence and structural factors in the low participation of women in community development processes in Ghana. This study found that Western interference in the form of the superimposition of a neoliberal capitalist agenda has had a negative consequence on the level of participation of women in their communities. This ideology has imbued in women individualistic ideals to the detriment of traditional communal life. The women were particularly disadvantaged by the reliance on level of education and fluency in English, as requirements for local government positions since English is the national business language. The existing patriarchal norms and values in rural communities such as traditional gender roles and ‘name calling’ militate against women within the context of community development.

The imperative of policy and practice reforms such as the need for local women to have conversations around constructive patriarchy and global inequalities, raising awareness about the need to get women involved in the community development process, the provision of leadership opportunities for women, setting up structurally transformative policies, and the promotion of Girl-Child and Adult Literacy Education were highlighted. The usefulness of allowing the ordinary Ghanaian women to keep their spaces, define their priorities within those spaces and control the transformation process is a major contribution of this research.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons