Day in and day out, Hillary Clinton is winning the Internet.
The former First Lady and Senator and current Secretary of State has undergone a dramatic public transformation over the past year, one driven in part by her strong handling of a generally popular job, and in part by an unpredictable factor: The Internet has finally fallen in love with her.
Howard Dean was the hero of the rowdy, anti-war blogs in 2004. Barack Obama was the purest icon of the stylized, one-way hero-worshipping web of 2008. Now Clinton is the star of the messy, recursive, and playful ascendant social web. More blunt force than clever package, with her public stumbles and imperfections hanging out for all to see, she’s a fractured, engaging character — a perfect fit for a media universe dominated by Twitter and Facebook.
Working with the nation’s top women’s liberal arts colleges, Secretary of State Clinton hopes to harness the potential of women around the world to strengthen leadership in both government and civil society.
For the world to cope with its full range of problems, women must be agents of change. Unfortunately, historically and globally, women’s voices have been largely missing from positions of power and influence.
To address this issue, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a bold new initiative late last year to increase the number of women in public service at the local, national, and international level. Developed by a founding partnership of the five leading women’s colleges—Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley—and the U.S. Department of State, the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) will “provide vital momentum to the next generation of women leaders.” The project’s ambitious goal is global political and civil leadership of at least 50 percent women by 2050. On the way, the project plans to build “the infrastructure and conven[e] the conversations necessary to achieve this vision.”
WPSP will offer an annual summer institute in partnership with the women’s colleges, the first to be held this year at Clinton’s alma mater Wellesley. Emerging leaders from all over the globe will gain critical skills in public speaking, coalition building, networking, and mentorship, with State Department sponsorship for 40 participants from Middle Eastern and North African countries in political transition.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a commitment from 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to boost economic growth and productivity by removing barriers to women. Clinton, in a speech, laid out an economic case for APEC members to end such discriminatory practices as taxing women, limiting their ability to own property or to get access to capital, markets, jobs, training and positions of leadership.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today a commitment from 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to boost economic growth and productivity by removing barriers to women.
Clinton, in a speech, laid out an economic case for APEC members to end such discriminatory practices as taxing women, limiting their ability to own property or to get access to capital, markets, jobs, training and positions of leadership.
“When everyone has a chance to participate in the economic life of nations, we can all be richer, because more of us would be contributing to the global GDP,” Clinton told an audience at an APEC meeting on women and the economy in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Declaration adopted today commits APEC’s members to pursue a “generation-long journey,” Clinton said. In doing so, they’ll create a fundamental economic shift that leaves member countries more competitive and prosperous, she said.
Clinton’s announcement married two of her strongest interests. She has focused on women and children since early in her professional life, she has sought to leverage the State Department’s power to boost economic growth.
Clinton cited today a study by consultants McKinsey & Co. that found that approximately one-quarter of U.S. gross domestic product is attributable to productivity gains tied to the rise of women in the U.S. workplace over the last 40 years, from holding 37 percent of all jobs, to 48 percent.
“That works out to more than $3.5 trillion,” Clinton said. “More than the GDP of Germany, and more than half the GDPs of China and Japan,” she said.
And she highlighted a World Bank finding that by eliminating discrimination against female workers and managers, companies “could significantly increase productivity per worker by 25 to 40 percent.”
Getting more women into the economic life of a country has ripple effects that benefit everyone, Clinton said.
Her list included greater political stability, fewer military conflicts, more food, more educational opportunity for children and financial stability for more families in the world.
Studies have shown that women spend more of their earned income on food, health care, home improvement and schooling -- reinvesting in ways that lead to more job growth and ensure better educated, healthier citizens, Clinton said.
Women also save more than men, according to research Clinton cited, with the higher savings rate translating into a higher tax base.
APEC has discussed the issue of women’s economic participation before and has made uneven progress toward change, Clinton said. In the U.S. and every APEC economy, women are “still sidelined.”
Only 11 of the CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies are women, Clinton said.
Clinton has already launched women’s economic projects in Africa. The African Growth Opportunity Act created an initiative to help African women entrepreneurs build export capacity and take advantage of trade opportunities.
And she has launched TechWomen, a technology program in which women from around the world have been mentored by women in the Silicon Valley. At the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Clinton has also advanced an effort to collect data on women’s education, entrepreneurship, and employment.
Speaking to the audience of government officials and private companies from APEC countries, Clinton urged data collection that’s disaggregated by gender so the group has hard statistics to ensure countries are making progress and to detail the impact of women’s participation.
A message to all those confident young American women from pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem: For all the advances in women's rights in the past 40 years, equality remains a distant hope.
For those awaiting a woman president of the United States, Steinem throws more cold water on their hopes, claiming she will likely not see that in her lifetime.
Steinem supported Hillary Clinton in her drive to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008 and credits her with "changing the molecules in the air a little bit" by making millions more men and women imagine a woman president.
Yet, she still maintains that the United States is not ready to elect a woman president because "female authority is still associated with a domestic setting and seems inappropriate in a public setting."
During the 2008 presidential election campaign, then-Senator Hillary Clinton almost shattered the nation's ultimate glass ceiling. After her defeat, she thanked her supporters for putting 18 million cracks into that ceiling.
Now, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is bringing new power and prestige to her fight for women's rights. CNN's Jill Dougherty reports on Sec. Clinton's push for women's rights at the State Department.
~ Shukria Asil of Afghanistan for "promoting government responsiveness to the needs of women" ~ Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan for "integrating women into the government and police force" ~ Androula Henriques of Cyprus for "Fighting human trafficking" ~ Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic for "Ending discrimination based on country of origin and the human rights abuses of statelessness" ~ Shadi Sadr of Iran for "Advocating for women's legal rights and an end to execution by stoning" ~ Ann Njogu of Kenya for "Seeking social transformation and at the forefront of reforms in Kenya" ~ Dr. Lee Ae-ran of South Korea for "Promoting human rights in North Korea and aiding the refugee community in the Republic of Korea" ~ Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka for "Strengthening rights for internally displaced persons" ~ Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria for "working for social services for women" ~ Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe for "documenting human rights abuses"
In a speech Friday at the UN in New York, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton identified equality for the world’s women and girls as the central challenge that will determine the peace and progress of the 21st century.
The past 15 years, Clinton said in her speech, have included some remarkable advances for women globally – including heightened attention to women’s health and economic issues, particularly in developing countries. Women’s participation in their country’s political life and their election to national parliaments have also increased, she said.
But women also encounter harrowing new challenges in some regions, including a spike in politically motivated sexual violence. Meanwhile, other crimes against women – including what she called “gendercide” and forced childhood marriages – remain dark blots on the world.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. I think we have just wrapped up a very productive conference and we have seen the results of cooperation in the international community on a number of very important issues. I want to thank Prime Minister Brown and Foreign Secretary Miliband, the Government of Afghanistan, and the United Nations for bringing us all together and sponsoring this important meeting.
And I think that what we have seen is a global challenge that is being met with a global response. I especially thank the countries that have committed additional troops, leading with our host country, the United Kingdom, but including Italy, Germany, Romania. We also are grateful to all those who made their contributions known today. There are other countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, who are providing air space rights and other transit assistance.