n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Beyond equity and equality : voices of fear about gender advocacy in Ghana

Supplement 9
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



Gender has gained importance in the curricula of many tertiary institutions in African countries, including Ghana. It has also been an analytical framework in research; and the findings have been the basis for advocacy for policy considerations. This study examines two concerns that were consistently expressed by students in two of Ghana's universities about some aspects of the content of gender and related courses they were taking. The students had fears that gender is associated with feminism. They also claimed that there was too much emphasis on girls and women to the neglect of boys and men in gender courses. The main purpose of the study is to provide some insights into teaching gender in tertiary institutions in an African country. It also seeks to contribute to the body of literature on the challenges of introducing gender as an analytic category in African social science. The concerns of the students were examined within Ghanaian and international contexts within which teaching and research on gender has been carried out in past and present times. It concludes that the students' concerns cannot be dismissed as mere controversies that characterize the subject, because even though gender has developed out a conceptual shift from women to gender, emphasis has been laid on women while issues on men or masculinities have been largely neglected in gender studies, research and advocacy. Moreover, internationalization of the women's movement brought together feminists and women researchers and activists from both north and south (the sisterhood) such that the roots of gender as a discipline are more or less found in feminism. Furthermore, the political context of gender studies, research and advocacy in the developing countries, including Ghana, is characterized by external support and dependency of the south on the north. These were found to be the probable sources of the concerns expressed by the students.

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