Citing “unfinished business,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to lead an effort to evaluate the progress made in empowering women and girls worldwide, at a Clinton Global Initiative panel in New York today.
“Whether we are talking about empowering and connecting women in economics or health care or education or politics, it all comes back to a question of the full and equal participation of women versus their marginalization,” Clinton said.
The commitment bridges Clinton’s work as first lady in the 1990′s, and her initiatives as secretary of state in the Obama administration.
She announced that she plans to lead an effort by the Clinton Foundation and other organizations to re-evaluate the progress that has been made on women’s issues globally in time for the 20th anniversary of a United Nations-sponsored Beijing conference on women in 1995, when as first lady she led the American delegation.
“I believe it’s time for a full and clear eyed look on how far we’ve come, how far we still have to go, and what we plan to do together about the unfinished business of the 21st century: the full and equal participation of women,” Clinton said.
Since leaving the Obama administration in February, Clinton has joined her husband, former President Bill Clinton’s non-profit organization, and has made empowering women and girls and promoting early childhood education priorities.
Her work though the Clinton Foundation is likely to be the primary mechanism by which Clinton engages in mostly a-political work ahead of 2016, when many hope she will run for president.
Clinton said that though some progress has been made, women still struggle to be full participants and citizens in their societies.
“Women and girls still comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy unfed and unpaid–marginalized in so many ways,” Clinton said. “So yes we’ve built an international architecture of laws and norms to protect women’s rights, but in many ways it remains a bare scaffold.”
“Without the bricks and mortar needed to make those laws effective in people’s lives and turn our rhetoric into reality,” Clinton said.