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

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