Meet Ghana’s First Female PhD Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Amelia Amemate PhD Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies

The 2020 Batch of Gates Cambridge Scholars were announced on the 15th   of April, and Amelia Amemate happened to be one of them. 77 women and men from 30 countries across the globe. 8% of whom are PhD candidates and, among them 2 Ghanaians.

Starting in October, Amelia will be pursuing a PhD in Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge.

“The strongest actions of a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could.”


According to Ms Amelia, Confronting issues that affect women and girls have always been a major part of her development process. Growing up in a small coastal town in Ghana, West Africa, she noticed that girls and boys are treated unequally, and women and men are held to different expectations. So, she chose to focus on gender issues at each stage of her education. At the University of Ghana, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, her interests centred on the low participation of women in Ghanaian politics. During her master’s, she researched the issue of African women’s hair-culture and politics. her work introduced a third stance to the hair debate by arguing that African women do not alter their hair because they want to be white or just as a matter of style. Rather, there are norms in African culture that privilege straight hair over coily hair. At the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Gender Studies, she will be looking at how Ewe and Akan cultural norms contribute to gender inequality and technology’s impact on gender relations in Ghana. Her goal is to produce research work that redefines gender relations, as well as strengthen gender-equality activism in Ghana and beyond. Joining the Gates Cambridge Scholars’ community is a dream come true.

After the announcement was made, Ms Amelia posted on her facebook wall

I am the first Ghanaian woman – Ewe too – to become a Gates Cambridge Scholar as a PhD candidate.

The Gates Cambridge scholarship boasts of a community of about 1700 exceptional brains from more than 100 countries in the world. Throughout the history of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, there is only one Ghanaian woman who had the opportunity to join the program.

This breakthrough is the more reason why my success is for all of us. It is worth celebrating because it is the beginning and continuation of the many glass ceilings that Ghanaian women will continue to shatter.

Instinctively, I rushed to look at the profiles of my colleagues (yours ever is the very first name on the website – find the link in the comment section) when I receive the email. Then, I noticed something… During a program called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” on Netflix, former President Barrack Obama, who was hosted, asked the host, David Letterman, if he realized that there is an element of luck in their success stories. That luck President Obama asked Letterman about is what I saw as I read the profiles of the other Gates Cambridge Scholars. They are truly the best of the best. Yale, Harvard, Pennsylvania – these are the schools I saw as I glanced through the profiles. I kept wondering how the heck did I get through the door? Amazing, right?

My point is that achieving this critical milestone has nothing to do with being smart or better than others. I know many fellow girls (and boys) who were far more intelligent than me, yet circumstances didn’t make the same opportunities available to them as they did to me.

I hope my journey inspires many more girls to fight even harder for their “impossible” dreams. I also hope my research in Cambridge will help create a more gender-equal society in Ghana and beyond in the near future.

Wish me luck. Let’s go get dem!

Previous education

Bowling Green State University 2020 American Culture Studies

University of Ghana 2014 Political Science

COVID-19: Pregnant nurse, 28, dies but baby survives in UK

A PREGNANT nurse who died from coronavirus following the successful delivery of her baby via c-section is pictured for the first time.

Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, died after contracting COVID-19

Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, tragically passed away on Sunday days after the emergency surgery at Luton & Dunstable hospital where the “fabulous” NHS hero worked.

Channel 4 News today reported the baby girl is alive and being treated – however it is still unclear if the child, also named Mary, has tested positive for Covid-19.

According to reports, the nurse’s condition had initially appeared to improve before deteriorating prompting medics to perform the caesarean in a bid to save the infant.

Mary died “a few days” after her baby was born, Channel 4 News reported.

Colleagues said Mary was “a fabulous nurse and a great example of what we stand for”.

Friends and co-workers paid tribute to her on a GoFundMe page set up to help her grieving family.


Renai Mcinerney wrote: “Sister Mary was my colleague, I worked alongside her for a few years.

“She deserves her family to be looked after, after she devoted her life to the NHS as a nurse.

“It’s time to look out/after our own and return the selflessness persona Mary carried and give something so small, but so big to her family in this time of need. RIP sister Mary!”

Caitlin Greene also posted: “So sorry to Mary’s family and friends for her loss. She will live on in her beautiful baby girl. xxxx”

she devoted her life to the NHS as a nurse Mary’s Colleague Renai

The broadcaster said staff at the Luton hospital have complained of a shortage of gowns and masks for workers caring for coronavirus patients.

A hospital spokesman refuted that claim, telling Sun Online: “We have not experienced significant shortages of PPE (Personal protective equipment) during the outbreak.”

It has been reported that Mary’s husband is currently self-isolating.

The nurse, who worked at the hospital into her third trimester, cared for patients on ward 12 – where Covid-19 victims are now being treated.

 Mary's colleagues have paid tribute to her saying she 'devoted her life to the NHS'
Mary’s colleagues have paid tribute to her saying she ‘devoted her life to the NHS
 Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, was remembered as a 'fantastic nurse' after she died on Sunday from coronavirus after delivering her baby via c-section
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, was remembered as a ‘fantastic nurse’ after she died on Sunday from coronavirus after delivering her baby via c-sectionCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

However, the hospital said that the ward did not have any infected people when Mary worked there until March 12.

In a statement, David Carter, CEO, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told staff: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the death of one of our nurses, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, who passed away on Sunday (12th April).

“Mary worked here for five years and was a highly valued and loved member of our team, a fantastic nurse and a great example of what we stand for in this Trust.

“She tested positive for Covid-19 after being tested on 5th of April and was admitted to the hospital on the 7th April.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Mary’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Mr Carter said the survival of the nurse’s baby daughter was a “beacon of light at this very dark time”.

Mary is not believed to have been infected by the virus while working at the hospital.

Her maternity leave was cut short when she admitted as a patient on April 7.