G.O. Gyamera

University of Roehampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
Over the years, the issue of female education has attracted substantial attention in Ghana. Various Policies and administrative structures have been initiated both at the national and institutional levels to particularly enhance enrolment and wider participation of women in higher education, especially, in the universities. These initiatives have increased, to some extent, female enrolment in higher education. However, less could be said about women in higher ranks and positions in the universities.

The paper discusses women’s ranks and positions in relation to policy and practice in the public universities of Ghana. It is based on a qualitative study conducted to explore first, the tensions generated by the Ghanaian universities’ quest to satisfy national needs and at the same time the need to conform to international regulatory systems that have become so important for national governments across the world; second, to consider how these tensions impact on curriculum development in the universities in Ghana; and third, to identify the challenges confronting each university. The research was a multiple case study of three public universities in Ghana and the methods employed for the study were interviews and documentary analyses. Three departments were selected from each university and the target population was made up of Administrators, Deans, Heads of Department and students.
Of the 38 participants (excluding students), only two were females. A further look at the statistics of the faculty and administrators of the universities revealed similar trends across the various universities. The limited number of women in such higher positions and ranks, I believe, has many implications for the public universities as they strive to position themselves both locally and internationally. Burke (2; 35, 2012), has indicated that, ‘Universities are significant institutional site of the legitimization of certain forms of knowledge and identity’. In this context, limited participation of female academics in the universities in Ghana, I believe, will have negative implications not only for individuals or groups of people, but the institutions themselves. Among others, decision making and many polices in the universities could be dominated by men’s views and position (Morley, 2011). Again, it could affect international positioning of the universities. For instance, it was indicated from the study that lack of women in higher positions and ranks affect some collaborative ventures and projects of the universities.

Drawing on a critical feminist perspective, this paper argues that as the public universities in Ghana embrace themselves to fulfil their roles in local and external needs, there is the need for the universities to emphasise women’s positions and views. There is the need for the universities to encourage through affirmative policies and practices for more women to occupy higher positions and ranks in the institutions and enhance women’s participation in the universities in Ghana.

Morley, L. Leach and F. Lussier, K (2010). Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard. An ESRC/DFID Poverty Reduction Programme Research Project. Draft Research Report
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/wphegt Accessed 20/02/2012
Burke, P.J. (2012). The right to higher education: beyond widening participation. London and New York