While it is recognised that women play fundamental roles in the socio-economic development of their communities, they are often excluded from local decision-making processes because their views are not solicited and their interests are not taken into consideration in the formulation of local development programmes. Drawing on case studies from Ghana, this article identifies the benefits to the communities of involving women more in decision making, and assesses the constraints upon and opportunities available to women who seek to assume community leadership functions. Strategies for promoting a more `constructive engagement’ with women in the decision-making processes of rural communities are discussed.
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