Here is a video excerpt. Full text transcript below.
It follows the full text transcript of
Hillary Clinton's Women's Rights Are Human
Rights speech, delivered at the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women,
Beijing, China - September 5, 1995.
Under Secretary Kittani,
I would like to
thank the Secretary General of the United
Nations for inviting me to be part of the United
Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. This
is truly a celebration - a celebration of the
contributions women make in every aspect of
life: in the home, on the job, in their
communities, as mothers, wives, sisters,
daughters, learners, workers, citizens and
It is also a coming together, much the way women
come together every day in every country.
We come together in fields and in factories. In
village markets and supermarkets. In living
rooms and board rooms.
Whether it is while playing with our children in
the park, or washing clothes in a river, or
taking a break at the office water cooler, we
come together and talk about our aspirations and
concerns. And time and again, our talk turns to
our children and our families. However different
we may be, there is far more that unites us than
divides us. We share a common future. And we are
here to find common ground so that we may help
bring new dignity and respect to women and girls
all over the world - and in so doing, bring new
strength and stability to families as well.
By gathering in Beijing, we are focusing world
attention on issues that matter most in the
lives of women and their families: access to
education, health care, jobs and credit, the
chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights and
participate fully in the political life of their
There are some who question the reason for this
conference. Let them listen to the voices of
women in their homes, neighborhoods, and
There are some who wonder whether the lives of
women and girls matter to economic and political
progress around the globe. Let them look at the
women gathered here and at Huairou - the
homemakers, nurses, teachers, lawyers,
policymakers, and women who run their own
It is conferences like this that compel
governments and people everywhere to listen,
look and face the world's most pressing
Wasn't it after the women's conference in
Nairobi ten years ago that the world focused for
the first time on the crisis of domestic
Earlier today, I participated in a World Health
Organization forum, where government officials,
NGOs, and individual citizens are working on
ways to address the health problems of women and
Tomorrow, I will attend a gathering of the
United Nations Development Fund for Women.
There, the discussion will focus on local - and
highly successful - programs that give
hard-working women access to credit so they can
improve their own lives and the lives of their
What we are learning around the world is that if
women are healthy and educated, their families
will flourish. If women are free from violence,
their families will flourish. If women have a
chance to work and earn as full and equal
partners in society, their families will
And when families flourish, communities and
nations will flourish.
That is why every woman, every man, every child,
every family, and every nation on our planet has
a stake in the discussion that takes place here.
Over the past 25 years, I have worked
persistently on issues relating to women,
children and families. Over the past
two-and-a-half years, I have had the opportunity
to learn more about the challenges facing women
in my own country and around the world.
I have met new mothers in Jojakarta, Indonesia,
who come together regularly in their village to
discuss nutrition, family planning, and baby
I have met working parents in Denmark who talk
about the comfort they feel in knowing that
their children can be cared for in creative,
safe, and nurturing after-school centers.
I have met women in South Africa who helped lead
the struggle to end apartheid and are now
helping build a new democracy.
I have met with the leading women of the Western
Hemisphere who are working every day to promote
literacy and better health care for the children
of their countries.
I have met women in India and Bangladesh who are
taking out small loans to buy milk cows,
rickshaws, thread and other materials to create
a livelihood for themselves and their families.
I have met doctors and nurses in Belarus and
Ukraine who are trying to keep children alive in
the aftermath of Chernobyl.
The great challenge of this Conference is to
give voice to women everywhere whose experiences
go unnoticed, whose words go unheard.
Women comprise more than half the world's
population. Women are 70% percent of the world's
poor, and two-thirds of those who are not taught
to read and write.
Women are the primary caretakers for most of the
world's children and elderly. Yet much of the
work we do is not valued - not by economists,
not by historians, not by popular culture, not
by government leaders.
At this very moment, as we sit here, women
around the world are giving birth, raising
children, cooking meals, washing clothes,
cleaning houses, planting crops, working on
assembly lines, running companies, and running
Women also are dying from diseases that should
have been prevented or treated; they are
watching their children succumb to malnutrition
caused by poverty and economic deprivation; they
are being denied the right to go to school by
their own fathers and brothers; they are being
forced into prostitution, and they are being
barred from the bank lending office and banned
from the ballot box.
Those of us who have the opportunity to be here
have the responsibility to speak for those who
As an American, I want to speak up for women in
my own country - women who are raising children
on the minimum wage, women who can't afford
health care or child care, women whose lives are
threatened by violence, including violence in
their own homes.
I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting
for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clea