Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 386

Full Length Research Paper

Governance of river basin: Gender dimension in framing issues at the local community level

Agro, P. P.
  • Agro, P. P.
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Cultural Geography Group, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands.
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Agyeman, Y. B.
  • Agyeman, Y. B.
  • Department of Ecotourism, the University of Energy and Natural Resources, UENR, Sunyani, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 24 September 2017
  •  Accepted: 20 October 2017
  •  Published: 30 September 2018


Rivers are a vital part of the environment as they act as habitat for several life forms, of which the well-being of many livelihoods depends for survival. Yet, the misuse of river basins in most parts of the world particularly developing countries has intensified dramatically. Appling the concept of “framing” we attempted to understand how gendered perspectives play a role in the governance of a river basin at a community level. We conducted 25 in-depth interviews over a three month period (April to June, 2017) with participants from five communities within the Tano River catchment area in Ghana. The study revealed that river-related issues at the community level continue to be framed based on some predetermined notions that have been traditionally ascribed to men and women. It was observed that the existing frames, in theory, determined whose voice is included or excluded from a decision making processes. However, the participant’s framing of roles did not reflect the specific roles women must undertake in the decision making processes at the community level. Women’s opinions are considered a second option at the local decision making level. A grey area to a social dimension in water governance indicates that women as traditionally required, delegate their opinions to men to deliver on decision platforms, and therefore it will be difficult to ensure gender equality in the management of river basins at the community level. Thus, the framing of issues at the community level plays a pivotal role in determining who participates or not in a decision making process.


Key words: Framing concept, gender roles, water governance, taboos, decision making, the Tano River basin.