Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Georgetown audience today that “advancing the rights and full participation of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century.”
The former presidential candidate’s remarks were part of the annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security ceremony, hosted annually by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS).
Clinton presented four awards in a packed Gaston Hall to Colombians who played a crucial role in the 2016 historic peace agreement that ended over five decades of conflict in their country.
“I believed . . . and believe even more fiercely today, that advancing the rights and full participation of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton said. “It seems self-evident: It’s not only the right and moral goal for us to be pursuing . . . [but] this is strategic and necessary for matters of peace, prosperity, and security. It is not a partisan issue. It is a human issue.”
“Here I go again, talking about research, evidence, and facts,” Clinton said as the audience laughed and applauded.
Not enough reviews of the speech focused on Hillary's key point. Fortune magazine helps us out:
Data from United Nations Women supports Clinton’s point: A global study from 2015 found that women’s participation increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years by 20%. Researchers analyzed 40 peace processes that have taken place since the Cold War, and there was a much higher chance of reaching a peace agreement when women were able to have a strong influence over negotiations.
Women have also historically brought coalitions to the peace table, Clinton said, in order to build a consensus. That, she countered, was not to say women were inherently more peaceful than me — that stereotype “belongs in the alternative reality.” Pause for applause.
Noting her own efforts to advance girls’ and women’s rights during her time at the State Department, Clinton made clear that those endeavors were not confined to the U.S. population. “Standing up for the rights and opportunities of women and girls must be a cornerstone of American global leadership,” she added, “and therefore it must be woven throughout our foreign policy.”
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