Hillary Clinton called for women around the world to face “no ceilings” as she prepares to attempt to break what she once called “the highest, hardest glass ceiling.”
Joined by her daughter, Chelsea, and philanthropist Melinda Gates, Clinton issued a call for gender equality and women’s rights around the world at an event in Midtown Manhattan Monday.
“When women and girls have an opportunity to participate, we can lift up not just ourselves but our families, communities, and even our countries,” she said. “This isn’t just a story about women and girls. It is a universal story about the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren.”
While billed as an apolitical event, Clinton’s appearance signaled that she will make gender issues more of a focus in her likely 2016 presidential bid than it was in 2008, as has been reported in the New York Times and elsewhere. She also changed her Twitter avatar to promote the report.
The event was the third in a week in which Clinton talked about women’s issues, including an appearance previewing the report in Miami Saturday and a speech at the 30th anniversary of the pro-choice Democratic women’s group Emily’s List.
The No Ceilings report brought together wide-reaching statistics related to women’s equality, measuring both progress in women’s participation and global shortcomings.
In the last two decades, the report says, health and education have vastly improved for women worldwide, with the maternal mortality rate halved since 1995 and attendance at primary school nearly equal among boys and girls. Women’s economic participation has not kept pace, however, and the gap in secondary school education for women and wage equality is severely lacking, Clinton said.
“This data is a benchmark of our progress but also a roadmap for the work ahead,” Clinton said. “We’re excited for you to dig into this data yourself: to use it, to share it, to get motivated by it.”
The event formed a sort of bookend to Clinton’s time away from politics. Her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination ended with a concession speech in which she referenced women’s suffragists fighting for the right to vote.
“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time,” she said in that June 2008 speech.