A BLOG POST BY STEPHENIE FOSTER In 1995, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton riveted the world at that year’s Beijing World Conference on Women. She made a compelling case for all of us – particularly governments – to address the issues important to women and girls, and made the tag line “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights” famous worldwide. Those were trailblazing words.
Now over 15 years later, and as the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton again made a compelling case for women’s rights. This time she was speaking at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Summit in San Francisco, and this time she was addressing the importance of women to global growth and innovation. Secretary Clinton set out the need for us to ensure that women’s talents and bottom line skills are included as we drive economic growth. As Secretary Clinton noted, “The big challenge we face in these early years of 21st century is how to grow our economies and ensure shared prosperity for all nations and all people. We want to give every one of our citizens, men and women alike, young and old alike, greater opportunity to find work, to save and spend money, to pursue happiness ultimately to live up to their own God-given potentials.
That is a clear and simple vision to state. But to make it real, to achieve the economic expansion we all seek, we need to unlock a vital source of growth that can power our economies in the decades to come. And that vital source of growth is women. With economic models straining in every corner of the world, none of us can afford to perpetuate the barriers facing women in the workforce. Because by increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, we can bring about a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies.”
The entire speech is worth reading and sharing, as we all struggle with how to ensure continued growth and opportunity for everyone, women as well as men.