Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton discusses the values of the 60s, becoming a politician's wife, her historic Presidential candidacy, and her devotion to women's rights worldwide.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton talks about the values of the 60s, becoming a politician's wife, her historic presidential candidacy, and her devotion to women's rights worldwide.
HILLARY CLINTON: If the 19th century was about ending slavery and the 20th century was about ending totalitarianism, the 21st century is about ending the pervasive discrimination and degradation of women and fulfilling their full rights. My father was a rock-ribbed conservative Republican. One of the worst things that you could say in our house was anything positive about any Democrat. And when I went to Wellesley, I initially was the president of the college Republicans. And then I got to thinking, you know, I'm not sure I really agree with what the Republican Party was standing for.
I get a little annoyed when people denigrate the 60s and kind of characterize it as drug, sex, and rock and roll. It laid the groundwork for the success of our civil rights movement, for the continuing equality of women. It was about human empowerment and freedom. After graduating from law school in 1973, Hillary Rodham began making a name for herself in Washington, working in children's rights and government. Career opportunities were opening up for her and other women as a result of the women's movement.
It was exhilarating. It was also somewhat torturing, because we were breaking new ground. We were trying to figure out, you know, how you balanced what you wanted to be individually, with being in a relationship. I certainly fell in love with an extraordinary, complex, dynamic human being. Now, there were many friends of mine who helped me pack up and drove me to Arkansas, who all along the way was saying, do you know what you're doing? Do you know what you're getting into?
I didn't know. I couldn't have sat there and said, oh, yes, I'm going to go to Arkansas, and eventually I'm going to marry Bill Clinton, and eventually he's going to become President. No. I mean, I did it because it felt right for me. I continued to work when I was the first lady of Arkansas. And I had been my husband's partner on really significant policy efforts on education and health care and children's welfare and the like. After her husband was elected President of the United States, he appointed her to lead an initiative to reform healthcare. Opponents dubbd it "Hillarycare."
Oh my goodness. It was just such a firestorm. And I really understood that, to some extent, it was because there were greater concerns about the influence that the first lady might exercise on policy. And I think that you know, it was a great lesson for me. The First Lady moved on from the healthcare fight, but continued to work for children's and women's rights at home and abroad.
Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights once and for all. What seemed to me to be a common sense statement of values has become a rallying cry. In 2002, Hillary Clinton became the first former First Lady to win a seat in the US Senate. In 2008, she became the first woman in serious contention for the US Presidency. Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it. A month after Barack Obama won the Presidency, he named Clinton as his Secretary of State. She set up the first Office of Global Women's Issues, and within two years had traveled more miles than any of her predecessors.
There's a great hunger for women to look for examples, role models, mentors, even someone all the way across the ocean. You know, the recent Nobel Prize winner from Yemen, this incredibly brave woman, had a picture of me on her mantle. And I cannot even tell you how honored I was that she would look to me to try to give her courage when she is on the front lines of bullets and clubs.
I want to see more of the reality of women's lives changed, in however much time I've got left on the earth, so that I don't continue to cringe at women denied the right to be whoever god meant them to be.