Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Tara F. Deubel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dillon Mahoney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sibel B. Kusimba, Ph.D.


African matriarchy, alternative dispute resolution, gender quotas, political anthropology, transnational feminisms, women's empowerment


A movement begun in 2011 inspired multilateral organizations such as the United Nations to collaborate with Ghana’s women traditional leaders on an inherently postcolonial indigenous and transnational feminist project, promoting Queens’ national recognition. Despite the initial power of the movement, it faded over time. Yet it spurred the formation of various new Queens’ associations throughout Ghana. The associations have grown and continue to grow, and the National Council of Women Traditional Leaders that spurred the first movement has returned stronger and with new strategies. As Ghana’s Queens seek their traditional right, an equal voice at all levels of leadership, it is imperative that multilateral organizations and various stakeholders stand with them again, having learned lessons from the past. The impact of Queens throughout each of Ghana’s key cultural groups, valuable evidence for arguing their case, remains largely undocumented. With this thesis, I humbly contribute one piece of this evidence: the voices of 22 women traditional leaders from seven of Ghana’s 16 regions, that matter in both practice and policy. Ghana’s traditional matriarchies represent an indigenous African feminism through complex structures enforcing gender mandates. This system should serve as a model for Affirmative Action laws that seek gender parity at local, national, and international levels of leadership.