Hillary Clinton talks about women and the global economy in Gaston Hall

Former Secretary of State (and potential presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton joined a panel of women leaders in Gaston Hall yesterday for an event sponsored by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Clinton’s remarks and the panel discussion focused on expansion of women’s participation in the global economy.

Following opening remarks from Georgetown President John DeGioia (COL ’79), Clinton spoke prolifically about the undervaluing and under-measuring of women’s labor throughout much of the developing world.

“What we need … is to evaluate contributions from what’s known as the informal economy,” Clinton said. “These women, who are working in markets, who are producing just enough food to feed their families or maybe a little more, are just not being measured by economists.”

She noted that many barriers towards female participation in formal markets were caused by simple barriers, like lack of available toilets or childcare.

Clinton also expressed her condolences towards the Georgetown community on the death of former SFS Dean Carol Lancaster.

“She was a great colleague,” Clinton said. “I traveled with her, worked with her … and she would have heartily approved of this gathering here today.”

Clinton ended her speech by expressing hope that her granddaughter will live in a more equitable world than today’s.

“Our system has to be better prepared to deal with the realities of the world we live in today,” Clinton said.

After speaking for about 25 minutes, Clinton left the stage, never to return for the duration of the panel.

The panel that followed consisted of Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation in the United Kingdom, Anne Finucane, global chief strategy and marketing officer for Bank of America, Mari Pangestu, former minister of trade for Indonesia, and Ofra Strauss, chair of the management board of the Strauss Group in Israel. Melane Verveer, executive director of GIWPS and former United States Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, moderated the panel.

Each shared experiences from their respective backgrounds, though Pangestu delivered an anecdote that proved to be particularly illuminating regarding the plight of women in the developing world.

“I was in Africa, in a village, and the people were debating the use of funds for the community,” Pangestu said. “The men wanted to get a parabolic [antenna] so they could watch football. The women wanted to build a pipe so they wouldn’t have to walk three hours a day to get water.”

Photo: Vicki Lam/Georgetown Voice

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