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The Akan queen mothers in Ghana and the implications of covert gynocracy

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posted on 2022-10-13, 12:39 authored by Fiona Gibson

Akan society in Ghana is a covert gynocracy.  The Akan Queen Mothers assume a background position despite being co-political rulers of Akan traditional  political chieftaincy institutions with sole  authority  and power  for electing a  man  to be  enstooled  as  king  or  chief. This background position results directly from traditional cultural and social norms-“cultural  politics” -that  have  existed  in Ghana from pre-colonial times to the modern-day and reflect  how  wider  Ghanaian society perceives women.Festivals  are  extremely  important  in Ghana with women  playing  a central  role  in  festival  celebrations. One  such  festival of national  and international importance is  PANAFEST which celebratesthe  ideals  of Pan-Africanism.    PANAFEST is dominated  by  men with women,  apart from  the Queen  Mothers,playing a  secondary  role in  the celebrations, only one day focuses on women's activities.This study investigates the implications of covert gynocracy for women's empowerment  in  Ghana  through  a case  study  of  women in tourism, particularly  PANAFEST,and the role  of  the Akan  Queen  Mothers therein.Promoting  social  harmony  rather  than  gender  equality,  this post-modern  feminist  study  interprets  rich  qualitative  data  generated from unstructured  interviews with  better-educated  individuals and focus  group  discussions with less  well-educated  individuals at  three PANAFEST destinations.The thesis discusses the structures that underpin Akan society and the power  and  authority  of  the Akan  Queen  Mothers as  decision-makers, particularly  in  respect  of kingship.   It exposes  the contradiction  of the Queen Mothers' power and authority with their background position as covert    gynocracy    and the    implications    of this for  women's empowerment.    The thesis  presents  the Theory  of  the  Giant  Leap to encapsulate  the  enormous  challenges  for  women's  empowerment  in Ghana  through  addressing covert  gynocracy and  male  hegemony. The thesis  concludes  that  there  is  no  short-term  panacea  and  that issues can only be addressed in the long-term through education. 



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