"Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights." Remember that proclamation?
OK, you may not remember. It was twenty years ago when Hillary Clinton said it and produced what some think was a "watershed moment for women in the fight for gender equality across the globe." It was when she led the U.S. delegation at the 1985 Beijing Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women.
Much has happened on women's rights -- women's empowerment -- since then. And, of course, Secretary Clinton has not exactly been dormant.
Now, as conjecture mounts on her possible 2016 presidential candidacy, she has selected a comfortable upcoming forum for moving in that direction -- a major public event recognizing and projecting progress on women's empowerment. On March 10th, she'll keynote the 2015 Women's Empowerment Principles Event at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
A few months ago, The Washington Post ran a headline, "Women love Hillary Clinton. Men? Not so Much," in reporting that its public opinion polling showed "that women say that they would support Clinton by a striking 61-33 percent ... a 25-point gap between Clinton's margin among women and among men." http://wapo.st/1o0wRPL
Fast-forward: Sunday,The New York Times columnist Nate Cohn predicted, "If a candidate as ever been inevitable -- for the [presidential] -- nomination it is Mrs. Clinton today." http://nyti.ms/17xDENV Of course, issues remain: Current questions about the Clinton Foundation's global network of donors and their possible political influence will have to be addressed. And some say that "the women's vote" is an illusion.
It's worth pondering the "UN Women's Empowerment Principles Event" as an opportunity for Secretary Clinton.
Several hundred women (and men) leaders of the women empowerment movement from around the world will participate; a plethora of national media can be expected to cover it (Business In Society will be there, as we were last year); and the program agenda, "Unlimited Potential: Business Partners For Gender Equality" will resonate with a spectrum of "infuentials" who will have impact on the 2016 campaign.
It's significant that in recent years the "UN Women's Empowerment Principles" program has attracted many business leaders in companies committed to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Some 860 Chief Executive Officers have signed on to WEP with a "CEO Statement" that concludes:
"Equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do -- it is also good for business... The seven steps of the Women's Empowerment Principles will help us to realize these opportunities.
"We encourage business leaders to join us and use the Principles as guidance for actions we can all take in the workplace, marketplace and community to empower women and benefit our companies and societies."
In her keynote address Secretary Clinton "will reflect on the progress made in implementing the agenda set in Beijing two decades ago."
In other words, she will tell a great many of us "What's Working" in the pursuit of gender equality. Arguably, a female president of the United States wouldn't hurt.