The Nordic Africa Institute


Gendered perspectives of the Ghana elections 2020

A group of female students in a classroom

Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Time • 9 Nov 2020 14:30 - 16:00
Place • Zoom Platform

This webinar takes a look at the Ghanaian elections 2020 from a gendered perspective asking what important reforms were implemented in the last four years and what we can expect both from this year’s electoral process and from policy platforms charting the way forward.

Watch the recorded webinar here:

Four years pass fast when there is much to do. The ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) launched several expansive policies including of the free senior high school reform, the idea-based Ghana Beyond Aid policy, and the “one district, one factory” initiative. How did these reforms impact women’s lives? Where there promised reforms that never were realized or striking implementation issues affecting women and other marginalized groups?

Compared to a continent average of 24 and a world average of 23 percent, Ghana has a low level of women represented in Parliament with only 13 percent. Despite increased pressure from civil society for improved women representation, and party initiatives for broader representation, women MPs remain few. However, this year, the opposition National Democratic Congress for the first time put a woman on the presidential ballot, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, a former Minister of Education is their vice-presidential candidate. Although women have run for vice president in the past, it is the first time a woman has been placed in this role for the two major contesting parties with an actual chance at winning. Furthermore, tensions have been heightened and “macho men” or private security men are now a common feature in Ghanaian politics. How should we understand the role of women in politics in Ghana? What is the role of women in the election process within parties? What is the impact of a woman running mate on the conversation? What effect has violence and problematic aspects of masculinity had and will have on the electoral process and beyond?

With a maturing democracy such as Ghana’s, civil society takes on a more central role of coordinating and advocating for change. Since the last elections in 2016, the world has changed in many ways, not the least through the technologies that connect us and allow for global conversations, for instance on gender relations such as #MeToo on sexual harassment. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the political landscape and slowed down economies making politics change directions. How are issues important for women and other marginalized groups raised and discussed in Ghana? What is the role of local politics and civil society? What policy suggestions stand out in a gendered reading of the manifestoes?


  • Prof. Kwesi Aning, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, incoming Claude Ake Chair, the Nordic Africa Institute.
  • Dr. Diana Højlund Madsen, Senior Researcher, the Nordic Africa Institute.
  • Esther Tawiah, Executive Director, Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED).
  • Betty Kankam-Boadu, Journalist, Media Foundation for West Africa



  • Dr. Kajsa Hallberg Adu, Post-doctoral researcher, the Nordic Africa Institute.

14.30 - Welcome and introductions

14.35 - Presentations by panelists

15.15 - Q & A session

16.00 - Closing of webinar

Diana Højlund Madsen

  1. ‘Gendered Institutions and Women’s Political Representation in Africa’, Africa Now Series, Nordic Africa Institute / Bloomsbury (edited book forthcoming December 2020).
  2. ‘Gender, Politics and Transformation: The Role of ‘Critical Actors’, 2020 book chapter in Women: Opportunities and Challenges, p. 55-83, Nova Science Publishers.
  3. ‘Women’s Political Representation and Affirmative Action in Ghana’, 2019:1 policy note Nordic Africa Institute.
  4. ‘Gender, Power and Institutional Change – The Role of the Formal and Informal institutions for Women’s Political Representation in Parliament in Ghana’, Journal of Asian and African Studies 2018, p. 1-18.

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