Climate change, economic growth, and healthcare are all important topics, to be sure. But Hillary Clinton isn't focusing on the standard political platforms anymore — she's got her eye on even larger, globally-minded issues. With tenures on both the state and national level, the former Secretary of State has a good feel for what's plaguing the current social climate and which issues are being swept under the rug by status quo-abiding politicians. And keeping in mind her recent ventures and public dialogue, it's likely that Clinton's biggest campaign position will focus on women's rights both at home and worldwide.
With Clinton's failed 2008 campaign based around a party platform of taking back the White House and restoring hope to a beleaguered country in the throes of an economic meltdown, taking a strong, first-punch position on an issue like women's rights will be vital in separating her from the rest of the pack and earning the attention of the women's vote and the young vote simultaneously. And with recent reports of millennial unemployment numbers hovering at around 15 percent and gender discrimination cases hitting the headlines with vigor, tackling a platform that could potentially encompass both topics is not just diplomatically savvy — it's vital.
A report by Politico on Wednesday indicated that picking a current issue like women's rights to run on would likely bolster Clinton's ranks with an "army" of female voters across the ethnic and generational boundaries. By "embracing her slice of history" as one of only 25 female presidential candidates in history and a former first lady whose focus on international humanitarian aid made her famous, it would be easy for her to take on the mantle of — as Intel Corp president Renee James put it at a recent tech conference— "modern-day suffragette."
Although Clinton danced around the issue of launching an official 2016 White House bid for some time, she hasn't wasted any time in picking a pet platform on which to build up her base; on March 9, along with her daughter, Chelsea, and businesswoman-turned-philanthropist Melinda Gates (wife of Microsoft mogul Bill Gates), Clinton released the No Ceilings Full Participation Report, a follow-up to her moving 1995 speech to the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women. In the report, Clinton and her colleagues detailed the many ways in which global women have risen up in the years following the 1995 speech, while also making clear that gender discrimination still kept the majority of the female population out of the inner power circles of political heavyweights.
"Too many obstacles limit the full participation of women and girls," they wrote, pushing forward the importance of opening even more doors and setting more inclusive standards in both the workplace and in the grand scheme of global progression.
In the report, they explained:
Social norms, an equally important influence on gender equality, are hard to change. And recent gains for women and girls have not been shared by all.
... A woman in the United States may struggle to care for a newborn and keep her job while a woman in Europe is entitled to paid maternity leave. Women and girls who face compounding challenges, like poverty and isolation, are most at risk and may drop out of school, marry young and live in fear of violence. While we have made progress over the past 20 years, not all women and girls have seen these gains in their own lives—and much unfinished business remains.
Upon its initial release, the report was seen by both Clinton's supporters and critics as a major declaration of what her focus would be in the years to come, whether or not she ran for the presidency. And given her most recent announcement, Clinton has been wise to hone in on lingering issues that need addressing, even as her opponents on both sides of the aisle continue to run glossy ads and colorfully patriotic TV spots with overarching promises of mending the country's broken ego.
Clinton's concerns over the gender wage gap have also been a major bullet point on her pre-campaign stops: In an address to auditorium of female tech employees and executives in Silicon Valley on Feb. 24, Clinton lamented the devastating consequences that a difference in pay made on working families and low-income households especially.
"Just think about all the hard-working families that depend on two incomes to make ends meet," said Clinton. "... [If] we want to find our balance again, we have to figure out how to make this new economy work for everyone." Clinton also elaborated on what a successful female president would do well to set their sights on, according to a report by The Los Angeles Times, calling for "higher minimum wage, pay equity for women and paid family leave."
While her speech that day may or may not have been a coy indicator of Sunday's announcement, Clinton would do well to hit copy/paste for her upcoming campaign stops and presidential debates — the nation's women will thank her for it.
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