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Published:February 24th, 2009 17:13 EST
Hillary Clinton: We Have To Remain Vigilant On Behalf Of Women's Rights

Hillary Clinton: We Have To Remain Vigilant On Behalf Of Women's Rights

By SOP newswire3


Over at the State Department`s Dipnote blog, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Christopher R. Hill wraps up Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s trip to Asia discussing a town hall at Ewha University in Seoul. He describes the scene last week: "Thousands of students showed up -- despite the fact that they`re on winter break -- to ask the Secretary everything from what her priorities were as Secretary of State to how she`s managed to balance the demands of career and family."

Secretary Clinton gave an impassioned call to continue defending and advancing women`s rights around the world, condemning recent brutality in Afghanistan and elsewhere. During the Q&A session she had an interesting exchange about her role dealing with foreign leaders as a woman:
QUESTION: You spoke a lot about being a woman and how women are a necessity to the world right now. How has -- especially being a mother. How has it been dealing with other world leaders who aren`t as accepting of the role of women for example, in different countries who don`t really respect women? How has that been trying to get them to cooperate with you as a female yourself?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don`t feel like I`ve had any problems either as a senator or in my short tenure as Secretary of State, because I hold an official position and I represent the -- in the first case, the United States Senate, or in this case, as the representative of the United States. So there is a funny kind of difference that sometimes goes on in some countries that are not particularly supportive of women in official positions. I think they just kind of ignore the fact that they`re dealing with someone who`s a woman. That seems to be almost a change that goes on in their mind.
So I don`t have any problems with that, but I do believe that it`s important for someone in my position to raise the role of women on an ongoing basis, even in countries where women are not given full and equal rights. So I don`t think it`s enough that people deal with me; I want them to deal with their own women, I want them to think about giving all women the rights to be fully functioning, productive citizens. So that is part of the mission that I feel I carry as the Secretary of State of the United States, and that`s what I intend to promote as I travel around the world talking about a lot of these important matters that are really at the core of the kind of future we`re going to have for ourselves and our children. (Applause.)