Nana Rawlings: The First Woman To Run For President In Ghana

How 'Ghana's Hillary Clinton' is empowering a nation

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Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings has been inspiring women for over three decades. Today, Rawlings has empowered her nation once again by becoming the first female presidential candidate in Ghana.

Rawlings, who is leader of Ghana's National Democratic Party, is facing six other candidates who are challenging the current president, John Mahama, The Telegraph reports.

Nana and Jerry Rawlings pictured in 2010.
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As the wife of the country's former president Jerry Rawlings, it's no surprise that the former First Lady has been compared to Hillary Clinton throughout her election campaign. And it's not just their age (both women are in their late 60s) that they have in common.

Like Clinton, Rawlings is known for being a prominent women's rights campaigner. As the founder of the 31st December Women's Movement, an organisation which works to eliminate poverty among women and children, Rawlings is said to have been a key influencer in the fight against gender inequality in Ghana and beyond.

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However, despite this recognition, the race to become the first female president isn't an easy one. Nana Akufo-Addo, from the New Patriotic Party, is likely to be a strong opponent, but Rawlings has tried to identify with voters by keeping her message simple.

Nana Rawlings with Hillary Clinton on a state visit to The White House in 1999.

In a speech she made in July, Rawlings spoke of her ambition to put the country "on the right track again."

"We believe in a thriving economy that creates equal opportunity for every Ghanaian regardless of ethnic group, regardless of financial status, regardless of gender and age," she said.

As well as addressing the gap between rich and poor, the health system and promoting local businesses, Rawlings also spoke passionately about providing a better future for her nation.

"Freedom and Justice must not become mere rhetoric but a reality that must permeate every aspect of Ghanaian society," she said, but her comments on unity were perhaps the most poignant of all.

"It does not matter which Party you belong to or whether you are non-partisan," Rawlings said. "It does not matter your ethnicity or religion. Concentrating on our differences retards our development as a nation. Our growth as a country, as Ghana, should be our unifying focus."

Her powerful statement was delivered to voters in Ghana, but Rawlings' words couldn't have come at a better time. Whatever the outcome of the election, let's hope the rest of the world takes note of this refreshing and heartening leader.

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