Clinton’s Confirmation Hearing Addresses International Women’s Rights Issues

Senator Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of State yesterday covered a range of women’s issues, including the plight of women worldwide. Among her related comments, Clinton said: “I want to pledge to you that as Secretary of State, I view [women’s] issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or in any way lesser”, according to the New York Times.

In her prepared statement, Clinton said “of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid. If half of the world’s population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal, and social marginalization, our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity will remain in serious jeopardy. We still have a long way to go, and the United States must remain an unambiguous and unequivocal voice in support of women’s rights in every country, every region, on every continent.”

Committee member Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) also presented photographs of women who had been burned in acid attacks or otherwise injured in gender-based violence worldwide. In reaction to the pictures, Senator Clinton promised to persuade leaders and governments internationally “that we cannot have a free, prosperous, peaceful progressive world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way,” according to the New York Times. She continued and commented on Taliban attacks on Afghan school girls: “They want to maintain an attitude that keeps women unhealthy, unfed, uneducated, and this is something that results all too often in violence against these young women….This is not culture, this is not custom, this is criminal.”


NPR Transcript 1/13/09; New York Times 1/13/09

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