The Gender Dimensions of Resource Conflicts in Ghana: Deconstructing the Male-Centric and Binary Outlook of Communal Conflicts

  • Deborah Atobrah University of Ghana
  • Benjamin Kwansa University of Ghana
  • Dzodzi Tsikata University of Ghana
Keywords: Gender, community, resource conflicts, conflict resolution, male-centric, Ghana, land use


The literature on gender and conflicts in Africa is dominated by essentialised and narrow male-centric constructions of conflict and stereotypes of female victimhood which obscure alternative female-centric ideation and experiences on conflict and conflict resolution. Using interdisciplinary methodologies, and drawing in insights from anthropology and history, this article explores the nature of women’s constructions of and participation in community conflicts and what drives their participation. We do this by investigating the gendered nature of community conflicts and conflict resolution in eight communities that are experiencing conflict over chieftaincy, land use and resources. We show that issues that are of concern for women – for example disputes over water use or witchcraft accusations – are largely relegated to the background. Moreover, women are excluded from most aspects of conflict and conflict resolution, at both the local and state level. We argue for a re-examination of the normative gendered constructions of conflict in Ghana to include female-centric ideas of conflict and conflict resolution.

Author Biographies

Benjamin Kwansa, University of Ghana

Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.

Dzodzi Tsikata, University of Ghana

Professor and Director, Institute of African Studies