The wife of the Vice President, Samira Bawumia has called for the inclusion of women in pivotal roles in society’s development.

She stressed the need for governments and decision making bodies to prioritise women in critical areas of national lives.

“Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes as well as eliminating sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices will fuel economic growth and benefit societies and humanity at large”, she noted.

Samira Bawumia made the call as Keynote Speaker, at the “Faces of Africa” Summit, at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.

The summit, an annual, week-long program organised by the African Public Health Network (APHN), of the university, seeks to promote conversations around Public Health and Gender Equality on the African Continent.

This year, the theme, “Achieving Gender Equality and Empowerment of Females: African Women on the frontline”, is in line with the vision of her not-for-profit organisation, Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP).

The summit is also designed to showcase African culture and society while bringing to the fore, women who are making strides in the socio-economic and political spheres of the continent.

Mrs Bawumia commended efforts being made by most African governments to encourage the participation of women, at the governance level.

“There have been significant achievements in the advancement of women in Africa, as a result of deliberate efforts to remove barriers that inhibit the participation of women in politics and governance,” she noted.

In the area of health, Mrs Bawumia who also doubles as a champion of maternal health made a case that gender inequality was linked to poor women health, in Africa. She cited a lack of access to health facilities, as a result of low economic power.

Regarding education, she noted that “education and skills are essential for the realization of individual potential, national economic growth, social development and the fostering of global citizenship. However, the gender gap in educational attainment at all levels in many African countries remains very high”.

Not too long ago, Mrs Bawumia, a global ambassador for the UN’s Clean Cooking Alliance, delivered a similar lecture, at the prestigious Warwick University, in the United Kingdom.

Women Empowerment is at the heart of her work with her not-for-profit organisation,  SEHP.

Through SEHP, Mrs Bawumia has initiated a number of critical interventions in the areas of health, education and empowerment, with special emphasis on women.

Notable amongst them is the ‘Safe Delivery Project’, an initiative that seeks to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in deprived communities. SEHP has also equipped and retooled selected health facilities in deprived communities in Ghana.

SEHP’s ‘Library-In-A-Box’ project has distributed over 40,000 books to about 60 schools in 10 regions across the country.

A total of about 40,000 pupils are expected to benefit from these books. This is in fulfilment of a quest to improve literacy and instil a culture of reading among students in Ghana, especially the girl child.

SEHP with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has launched a Coalition of People against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices (CoPASH) to spearhead a national response to the issues of SGBV/HPs including case management and increasing prevention efforts in Ghana.

Mrs Bawumia was, recently, named the “Queen of Humanitarian Projects” by the Human Achievers Foundation in India. She was also crowned the “African Woman of Excellence 2018” by the Africa Union and the Diasporan African Forum.