Hillary Clinton calls for more openness to women in politics on International Women's Day

The former US secretary of state says she actively supports women running for office

Hillary Clinton speaking during the New York State Democratic Convention in New York last month. AP

On International Women’s Day, Hillary Clinton has urged more women to take a leap into politics to help champion women’s progress around the world.

The former US secretary of state said a higher representation of women in parliaments globally is essential for a properly functioning democracy.

Speaking at the Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi, Ms Clinton was asked if she would run for president again.

Quote
I'm excited because there's a whole new generation of women who are demonstrating that they're determined to make the most of their own lives, to make contributions to others, to make a difference
Hillary Clinton, politician

“No,” she answered.

“But I'm certainly going to be active in supporting women running for office.

“I'm excited because there's a whole new generation of women who are demonstrating that they're determined to make the most of their own lives, to make contributions to others, to make a difference.

“The most important skills [for women in politics] is a combination of hard work and preparation but also openness and emotional intelligence. That’s what I think we need to be reminded of on this International Women’s Day.”

As an advocate for women’s rights, Ms Clinton said a lot has been done globally to advance economic and educational opportunities for women and put an end to health inequities in some countries, but there is still a lot more work to do.

She said there needs to be “more openness to women” in politics at all levels, and urged those with an interest in international affairs to explore a career within the sector.

“If there are opportunities to work in government, which gives you a different perspective to learn more about policies that you might be interested in promoting in government or in politics itself, [do it],” she said.

“There's no real substitute for learning how the political system works. Ask those who are in positions of influence and power for the chance to participate to be part of that system.

“Don't be afraid to take a risk. Even though you have started something that you think may be your path, that doesn't mean it always will be your path.”

Ms Clinton said governments need to continue to pay close attention to creating more support for women at work and urged her peers to always fight against misogyny.

“You know, it's not really something that we're ever going to get totally rid of, because it's part of human nature, but we have to keep pushing back on it,” she said.

“If you see another woman being talked about or dismissed or undermined, stand up for that other woman too, because part of what we have to do is make it clear that women are not a monolith by any means, but sexism treats us like we are, and we are not going to tolerate it for ourselves or for anybody else.”

In her 1995 speech for the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, Ms Clinton, aged 47, declared: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”. Those words defined much of her political agenda in the years that followed.

And on Tuesday, as she accepted the Forbes International Women’s Day Lifetime Achievement Award, she vowed to continue to stay active in debates that champion the rights of women and said she hopes more progress will be made towards global gender equity.

International Women's Day — in pictures

Updated: March 09, 2022, 10:55 AM
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