June 20, 2024

Hajia Alima Mahama is Ghana’s first female ambassador to the U.S. as gender gap remains a concern in the west African nation

Hajia Alima Mahama
Hajia Alima Mahama

Hajia Alima Mahama has been serving as Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States since June of 2021. She is the nation’s first female ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Mahama has been involved in the Ghanian government for decades and has been a longtime advocate of women’s rights and gender equality.

Prior to her appointment as Ambassador to the United States, Mahama served as a member of Parliament and Minister for Local Government and Rural Development from 2017 to 2021. She was also a member of Parliament and Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs from 2005 to 2009.

While women in Ghana are officially afforded the same political rights as men, they hold substantially fewer leadership positions. Additionally, they have less societal opportunities.

“Despite equal rights under the law, women face societal discrimination, especially in rural areas, where their opportunities for education and employment are limited,” reports Freedom House.

Similarly, Amnesty International reported that in Ghana, “Women continued to suffer discrimination and gender-based violence” in 2021.

While women’s enrollment in universities is increasing in Ghana, the education gap between genders continues to be an issue and a cause for the lack of opportunities afforded to women. According to nonprofit organization Oxfam, the average girl in Ghana only receives four years of education.

However, the involvement of women in high-ranking leadership positions such as Hajia Alima Mahama’s role as Ambassador to the United States has the potential to lead to monumental progress diminishing the gender gap that currently exists in Ghana.

According to the U.S. State Department, the creation of economic opportunities for Ghana’s women and other underprivileged groups is a diplomatic priority.

“Our bilateral economic relationship is focused on bolstering two-way trade and investment while promoting enterprise-driven development, particularly through the increased participation of women and youth, and better development outcomes for Ghana’s most vulnerable citizens,” says the U.S. Department of State.

The movement toward gender equality has been a passion and priority for Ambassador Mahama throughout her political career. She was instrumental in the passage of the Domestic Violence Act and the Human Trafficking Act as well as changes to Ghana’s National Health Insurance Law to improve maternal health and more.

Mahama has in the past served as Senior Technical Advisor for the program for the Attainment of Millennium Development Goal 3 in Liberia, a program aimed to promote gender equality and women empowerment. She also served as the Senior Planner and Gender Development Coordinator of the Northern Region Rural Integrated Program.

As Ghana aims to close its gender gap, it looks to improve upon educational and economic opportunities for women. As Ghana’s largest bilateral development partner, the United States has the potential to play a key role in assisting with this cause. Therefore, Ambassador Hajia Alima Mahama holds a very important position as Ghana’s diplomatic representative in the United States.

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