Posted on December 29, 2010


It is healthy to make hypotheses to help understand everyday realities, to answer questions.

For example, just recently Laura Freshi and William Easterly, author of the eye-opening book on development, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good” published an article in AIDWATCH entitled “The Plough and the Veil” reporting on a thought-provoking hypothesis. The article is short. Give it a read.

Now here’s another hypothesis, current and immediate…not mine…somebody near and dear to me. It’s about men and women in the context with the local government elections being held across Ghana in the next few days.

The hypothesis was prompted by a Christmas visit to Charity’s home village where we met the leading challenger for a position in local government. He had a hard time expressing himself…stammering, stuttering, rushing his speech, mumbling. Over the years together Charity and I have noticed this condition affects a lot of adult males no matter what language they are speaking…Charity went deeper saying that perhaps speech problems were the result of the fact that in the matriarchal system that predominates here in Ashanti, girls are closer to their mothers and thus experience more opportunity to exchange ideas in a natural setting.

But let’s look at the 2010 election stats on the breakdown of male/female candidates: there are a total of 17,315 candidates vying to be District Assembly members, according to statistics from the EC. 15,939 are males (92.05 per cent) and 1,376 are females (7.95 per cent).

On the Unit Committee Elections, a total of 45,762 candidates made up of 41,110 males (89.83 per cent) and 4,652 females (10.17 per cent) are contesting the vote.

My, now that’s quite a disproportionate number of males! A question that arises might be, is the effectiveness of decentralization through local assemblies and unit committees compromised by the lack of female representation. Remember that oft quoted truism, “Educate a boy and you educate an individual; educate a girl and you educate a nation.” Change though is hopefully in the wind with the creation of a ministry for women and children’s affairs, but it will be slow..

A further question arises, why aren’t more women involved in local politics? Perhaps women think there will be less trouble in their lives if they avoid politics. Hopefully, women just haven’t given up on men here…

Hypotheses are not facts-they are guesses. It is important to take risks, to venture theories to understand the way things are, why things work and why they don’t. Such thinking prompts change…


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