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Hillary Clinton 'disappointed' with pace of women's rights advancement

by Matthew Lavietes | @mattlavietes | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 10 September 2020 20:20 GMT

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a panel for the Hulu documentary "Hillary" during the Winter TCA (Television Critics Association) Press Tour in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Hillary Clinton said the world has "a lot more work to do" in the advancement of women’s rights

By Matthew Lavietes

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hillary Clinton, the first U.S. woman to win a major political party's presidential nomination, said on Thursday she was "disappointed" in the progress of women's rights, saying she had hoped for more success since a landmark conference 25 years ago.

The world has "a lot more work to do," the former first lady said at a virtual commemoration of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, where the phrase "women's rights are human rights" was coined.

"Am I discouraged? No. I'm disappointed that we haven't gone even farther in 25 years," she said.

"Women have not really either advanced in business or economic terms or their advancement has hit a ceiling."

She spoke as a report by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton and others marking the anniversary was released.

It called for women to be named to leadership roles in government and business in order to achieve equity.

Clinton, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, also warned that progress on gender equity was at risk due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Governments should be paying close attention to how to create more support for working people in general, but in particular women who are either sole support or contributing support to their families and children," she said.

"They had nothing to do with creating this virus, but they are left holding the bag of burden."

The pandemic could wipe out the "modest progress" made on gender equality at work in recent decades, with women globally at greater risk of losing their jobs, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned in June.

Women have been disproportionately affected, the ILO said, with almost 510 million women, or 40% of employed women, working in the industries with most job losses compared with less than 37% of men.

Those industries include food services, accommodation, retail and real estate.

The ILO added that the unequal distribution of unpaid care work worsened during the pandemic, exacerbated by the closure of schools and child care services.

Clinton was the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, when Republican Donald Trump was elected.

Related stories:

U.N. warns COVID-19 could wipe out gains in equality for women at work

Pandemic has U.S. women re-thinking plans for motherhood

U.S. progress on women's equality seen slowing as pay gains stall

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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