Clinton, Gates emphasize future role of women

February 13, 2014

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Despite the snow outside, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Melissa Gates at the Kimmel Center for University Life to discuss the progress of women in areas such as employment opportunities and leadership positions on Feb. 13.

Chelsea Clinton moderated the Women and Girls Count conversation, which was held as part of the Clinton Foundation’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hillary Clinton and Gates used statistics to show the impact of women’s participation in the workforce from an economic perspective, demonstrating the importance of using data. They noted the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women as a marker for change and desire toward full participation of women and girls.

“We’ve made progress, absolutely, around the world, but we haven’t made nearly enough progress,” Gates said.

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, an effort led by Hillary Clinton, seeks to reinforce its case by using data.

“Investing in women and girls isn’t just the smart thing to do from a moral standpoint, but it’s also the smart thing to do from an economic and a strategic standpoint,” Chelsea Clinton said.

The discussion also emphasized how the project’s goal will be achieved through new and old initiatives.

“It’s [about] encouraging parents to continue to support and to push and affirm their daughters in their ambitions,” Chelsea Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton said there are many barriers, both societal and governmental, that prevent women today from achieving their full potential.

“If we get past the laws, leveling the playing field and the regulations leveling them and all the rest, we are left with attitudes,” Hillary Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton and Gates did not exempt men from staying involved in establishing an environment that aims to increase participation of girls academically and in the workforce.

“We need to encourage girls during those key really hard years, those four years of middle school, to keep going in math and science,” Gates said.

Stern sophomore Samir Goel discussed the importance of the project’s economic argument.

“I think the practical, results-based approach that the No Ceilings Project is taking will accomplish significantly more than focusing on the ideals,” Goel said. “I like that they’re making it about empowering women and accomplishing equality rather than feministic ideals or pride.”

Building upon the progress of previous generations,  Hillary Clinton and Gates stressed the importance for the discussion to continue in order to reach equality for women.

“What we are trying to do in this project is look forward 20 years,” Hillary Clinton said.

 Mariya Karcelova is a contributing writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com.
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