tv Hillary Clinton Others on Womens Leadership CSPAN May 19, 2022 2:14am-3:09am EDT
alright! ♪ >> good morning, everyone. i am kate james. chair of the vital voices board. [applause] it's a great audience. i am delighted to welcome you all officially tightly vital voices global headquarters for women's leadership. that sounds great. and i want to thank you all for coming here, for what will be many conversations. in its incredible -- in this incredible and still evolving space. you will hear from some brilliant thinkers, courageous activists, talking about some of the world's most pressing
issues. from claimant justice claimant justice, to the crises and you clean -- from claimant justice to the crisis in ukraine and afghanistan. bringing genius approaches to some of the most enduring problems, from domestic violence, to economic inequality. i am incredibly proud to have been involved with vital voices now for more than 10 years. and i was thrilled to take on the board chair. my timing might've been a little bit off. because as you all know, the end of 2019, the world changed. this could have been a catastrophic moment for vital voices. no doubt. it could have been a stop on our programming. on our support. most importantly, on our
ambition. but actually, thanks to the amazing team at vital voices it was quite the opposite. we moved forward. we increased our programmatic offering, responding to new and emerging needs. we increased our emergency funding. we forged new partnerships, in terms of crisis response. vital voices really is an extraordinary organization. this makes me incredibly proud. that the team adopted this new business model to ensure it could work during covid. also during that incredibly difficult time, they stepped back and worked on their culture. as they continue to do so, to increase our diversity and inclusion. to set us up for success. but most importantly to make us a better organization. vital voices. this is what i love about it.
is relentless and the pursuit of creating a gender equal world. we look all the time for new w ays and approaches to improve the impact and reach of our model. investing in the catalyst, the catalyst to bring about change, to bring about positive program. investing in women leaders. [applause] all of that work would not be possible without partnership. look around you today. th building is proof indeed that partnership is what matters. before i handed over, i want to take a moment to thank the incredible group of dedicated partners, who right from the get-go were brave enough to believe in the amazing vision of this organization. and provided us the support that was so needed. and also to thank many of you here today.
the incredible board, further dedicated service. most of all, just for your passionate advocacy. and for the fact that you never, ever stopped believing. thank you. [applause] and i also want to acknowledge my predecessors. to thank them, susan davis, of course, the amazing my lens of your. and others, so much a part of the board. thank you. most of all, just an incredible thank you to the team of vital voices. who are truly amazing, incredibly hard-working. endlessly cheery. a massive thank you. last but not least, i have the great pleasure to introduce our
inspirational leader who will have the honor to work with week in, week out, elise is our president, co-founder, and all around superwoman. [applause] >> i have the privilege of working with this phenomenal woman. thank you. i'm going to get this party started with our very first panel. please welcome back to this stage for the very first discussion in our new global embassy for women leaders iconic fashion designer, philanthropist
diane falkenberg. the great and former presidential candidate, head of the people's party. [applause] human rights leader and newly minted extraordinary tech ceo, founder and ceo of moss, amira y. [applause] and finally the woman who inspired it all. secretary hillary clinton. [applause] all right. so, secretary clinton. we are of course going to start
with you off the bed. we are obviously in the midst of a time of extraordinary upheaval. we have had a global pandemic. we know it did not help promote or advance women and girls. it disproportionately set women back to the tune of an entire generation of progress. but i feel as though both you and i have something in common. and that is that we see the challenges but we see the opportunities. and i wonder even in this time of difficulty and setback, the world is also seeing that difference is needed. where do you see the opportunity? how do we take the challenges of what we have seen over the last two years and shift them, to leapfrog forward? >> well, elise, i think that you are right. that in any time of great
challenge and apparent setbacks, you have to be willing to find that light and that opportunity, to continue to advocate for, create change, and support others doing so. in an ironic way, certainly not i'm sure intended, i think the events in our own country of the last week, certainly the impact of the pandemic on women and girls, which was disproportionate, the horrific attack, by putin's russia on a neighboring country, and the impact that's had on so many lives and those of us who are trying to be supportive is a call to action. and that, to me, is it something
that we have to be not only aware of, but figure out how best to take advantage. and it is drilling for me, after 25 years, for me to be here in this building and to know the stories of the thousands of women who have been impacted by the voices, by the programming, every walk of life. and know that many of them overcame terrible odds. had every reason to give up or give in and did not. so, one thing that vital voices itself can do is to keep all the rest of us going, too. [applause] and i think that is a huge gift. so, yes, my great friend had this line, madeleine albright, how would you describe yourself? she would say, i am an optimist
who worries a lot. [laughter] i think we should all be optimists, who worry, and then get to work. that is what i see the opportunity as. >> thank you. [applause] >> and that is so true. vital voices was started in so many ways by powerful women like you who gave voice and power to other women. who maybe didn't have a strong a voice. but i think we have seen over the past 25 years of doing this work that the women we work with are deeply powerful. they may not have necessarily formal power. but they are having massive impact around the globe. kah, you wind i talk a lot about power. i would hear women see -- say again and again, i don't want power, because it is corrupt and dirty, i want to have impact, i
want to change lives. and you tell women, no, we need power. and we need to redefine it. >> yes. absolutely. this is such a tremendous moment, to be here. [laughter] [applause] yes. this is so amazing. and absolutely. i think, in this moment especially, where our world is really shaken to the core, in terms of the principles and values that we feel like we had in common, which are really being put to the test, we, as women, have to step into power. we have a lot of informal power. in fact, we use our power to pick up the slack, where governments fail. that is the reality. i am an african woman.
in africa, the women are doing health care, they are taking care of the children, they are picking up the economy, in situations where government has utterly failed. that is good, and we have learned a lot, and we have become very powerful, through that process, but we must step into formal power. becauset= -- because that is what makes a difference for the million of women around the world. and i think in this moment, let's not sit on resilience. we are very resilient, as women, and resilience is fantastic, however we have to be careful with it, that we do not sit in a place where we are allowing governments, people who rule the world, to be slack and we pick
up their slack. no, we must get into power and do it right. and we cannot trust the people who have built the current power infrastructure to transform it. [applause] these women here need to step in and transform it. elise, you know that to me, i work every day to become the president of cameroon. and that will happen. [laughter] [applause] but it also means stepping into space at the world bank, at the imf. not just as women, not just have women there, but to try to transform it. when i was coming here, i held a meeting with 15 cameroonian women who do amazing work on the ground. i said i'm going to washington,
what you want me to sing -- what do you want me to say? their message was very clear, we need to put the human being back at the center of power. and that is what we do at vital voices women. and we need to step into these institutions. the world is redefining itself now. let's not setback -- sit back. let's not wait for an invitation. let's step into the conversation to transform power. [applause] >> diane, i feel like knowing the mother you came from, you had no choice but to be a powerful woman. in so many ways, you have defined, reclaimed power, you have shown that you can be powerful, you can be feminine at the same time, right? and that women julie differently and that is completely fine -- do lead differently
and that is completely fine. you have talked about this being your third act. [laughter] why have you dedicated so much to women's power? and actually, one of my favorite things about diane is, every day when she gets up, the first thing she does is she does something good for someone else. she sends an e-mail on someone's behalf, she makes a call before she things about herself, she does something for someone else. and i know that this is true, because i know the people she is calling, sometimes it is me. i know the people she has doing favors for. often it is me or women across a network. -- the network. why do you use your power to empower women in particular? >> before i answer, i want to share something with you. because sometimes you wake up, and before you actually get up, you really feel like a loser.
we all feel like a losers. only losers don't feel like losers. [laughter] [applause] and so, i will share with you what i do. and my trick. it is a really good one. it is a quote, from a french writer. this is what he says. "when you. your power -- when you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt." and please remember that, because it really works. and we don't have the time to give power to our doubt. we have to act. we have to show, it's not about
being equal -- because truly, i'm sorry to say that, women are superior. [laughter] we just pretend we are not. [laughter] but we are. i mean, you know, we can argue so much more -- i would like to see men have their period every month. i mean, it's like -- so, we just have to -- [laughter] we have to be proud to be who we are. we have to do it in all kinds of ways. we have to remember that the most important thing is to neutralize. you have someone in front of you. you know all the negative they think about you. bring it forward. if you bring it forward, you neutralize it. you have to use all the tricks. all the tricks that women know
have accumulated over the years. but remember, we have to take our power. we will all go to her inauguration. [applause] and actually, you know, kah, i'm sure the first stop when you make your state visit will be this building. to give that big speech. >> absolutely. absolutely. you remember when we were thinking and talking about it for so long, and i said, one of the reasons it is important for us to have a building is that they should come to us. you come to our home. [laughter] >> oh, wow. amira, you were threatened, surveilled in tunisia. your car was tailed. you were even exiled for a
while. you went back to tunisia. during the arab spring, he really leveraged the power of technology, very early on, to show its benefit. to create transparency, to mobilize people. but now, of course, you are in silicon valley. mobilizing in a different way. but talk about that power of technology. because i think all of us probably in this room would agree that we don't as women mobilize it as much as we need to. >> yeah. first of all, i am very emotional, being here. very, very, very -- i was thinking about my fellow awardee. who was assassinated in libya, for using her power to change libya. she is in our hearts, obviously, all of us, and it is just so beautiful to be in this place.
because vital voices was so supported of her -- supportive of her. [indiscernible] it is -- now i live in silicon valley, as you know. we talk about it as this place where you were supposed to find outliers and invest in them early and get rich. i was nobody, when i got to america. i was nobody. a lot of past [applause] >> let's talk about power.
i know you know the power of technology. the problem is we are already too much behind. we are still behind. democracy has been built by men and it has defined a lot of our rights. i cannot believe we are debating the rights of abortion in 2022. it is shocking and disgusting. i come from africa. i have a daughter and when you have a daughter with a u.s. passport, you think she will always have something to protect
what i am doing today is actually harder. and it is harder on the baby. i have not seen this many women in the five years i have been in silicon valley. i will pitch 15 investors and i will never meet any women. women need to invade silicon valley and we need to make sure that girls are not just users, that they are builders. and that is a lot of work that needs to happen. alyse: secretary clinton, you are one of the most elegant
strategist at thinking about the future and women's issues. people are wondering what are you going to do next? particularly after that incredible dedication at secretary albright's memorial. the power that you brought to that stage following two presidents. i remember sitting there and thinking how proud secretary albright would have been talking about that. as i thought more, what is she going to do next? i am sure everybody is wondering that. i would love for you to lean in
even more so to women and girls because we have huge challenges. did you ever think we would be in this position where the rights are being rolled back? frm. sec. clinton: well, no. let me say, i think it is very important to understand how the deck is stacked against women's progress and against human rights. and it has gotten more sophisticated. thank you for talking about technology. because as somebody who has sounded the alarm about what
technology is doing to us, it is really quite frightening. and as we think about that landscape, the people making the decisions, it is a very small number of men. and they have the same kind of thinking and mindsets and worldview. and they are literally determining how we communicate and how we think of ourselves and they are responsible of instilling a lot of doubts in us. young women are becoming quite impacted by what they see on those phones that they are glued to and what it is doing to their own sense of autonomy and agency and power.
we have to get smarter and more creative about how we are going to address the imbalance of power. because the imbalance is getting greater. this is a nonpartisan organization, so what i will say applies to the entire world, not just to this country. the forces against human progress and particularly women's roles and rights is really gaining in power, aided and abetted by technology and by a certain kind of autocratic leadership.
she was the president of her country, lithuania, for 10 years. when i was secretary of state and i would meet with her, she was so clear i -- clear eyed about the threat from russia and nobody wanted to hear it. because we all wanted to believe that we made so much progress, it is just impossible to think that one man, one autocratic, what threaten the freedom of the baltic states or ukraine or somewhere else. so we have to be hopeful, optimistic, but realistic about what we are up against. to answer your question, that is my mission. we have to bring people together
and vital voices does to say women without power are women without the rights. because those rights are so dependent on who wields power in their societies. and we know what we are up against and we have to get smarter about how we are going to take it on. and this book, i brought it out because it is a beautiful book. it highlights 100 women. amelia gorman had a palm in the beginning and i just want to read a little bit of it because i think it goes right into what their challenge is. i cannot be like amanda gorman however. today, everyone's eyes are on us as we rise. today is the day women are
paving the way. speak in our truth to power. -- speaking our truth to power. we are victors, the greatest predictors of progress. that is what i am going to be doing. [applause] alyse: for those of you who don't know, the portrait outside of the building is amanda gorman. we have been proud to watch her rise. we watched so many women rise. but it is beautiful about this network is that they always come back. they always look to use their
power to empower. i was to is critical. we cannot talk about power without talking about money. so little of it is in the hands of women. we all know that the world cannot move forward if half the population is left behind. but yet, so little money is invested in women. we cannot solve the sustainable development goals if women do not have equality. we do not have a chance. diane, the way you think about this, and you think about investments. we find the brilliant leaders.
we do not tell them here is what you need to do. we basically say we know and believe in what you are doing already. you see the problems, you see the solutions. we just need to get behind you. and you see that as well. so many people look and pat heads. they say, how many people did i invest in? it is so much more than that. it is about supporting leaders in the long run. is that how you think about it and how can we convince more people that it is not just one and done? it is about going deep and supporting these leaders on their journey. >> what was the question?
[laughter] ms. von furstenberg: i am still impressed the hell are you can read without the glasses. -- hilary can read without the glasses. [laughter] alyse: actually, just say whatever you want. [applause] ms. von furstenberg: when you wake up in the morning and you hear what is going on, it is so depressing and dark. but we have to get up. how do you do it other than
looking in the mirror? we have more women prime ministers and presidents today than ever before. we have had incredible leaders. we miss angela merkel so badly right now. we have to look at the light and look at the positive. look at this global network of these women. these women fight against domestic violence and then they built this incredible refuge for women and then they get acid thrown at them and then they
start again. these women are role models. there are a lot of women role models right now and we have to give them the voice. we have to use whatever voice we all have, we have to use our voice, our experience, our connections, our resources in order to make it better. and it is an emergency. women have to take power. that is what each one of us has to say. little girls now.
we just have to look for the positive and built it and built it and use induction and flatter these men. [laughter] ms. von furstenberg: tell them they are so big, who cares? you are so good, you are so inspiring. and meanwhile, you do what you want to do. [laughter] ms. von furstenberg: that is what i want us to do. alyse: speaking of redefining things for the future, i note that is what you are doing all over africa and starting with their country. when i heard from diane is that it is an emergency.
women have to get into power. i think in this moment that we need to go do what so many women in this network are excellent at. grass roots to global. one of the major differences in the way women lead is what i did when i was coming to this event. >> you immediately go to the people you were supposed to represent and you say, what are the things you need to be put out front? and i want to speak to this idea of money. the money is definitely out there. there is so much money out there. the question is where we are spending it. it is who was making the
decisions and how are we allowing them to make the decisions? last year during the covid, my country cameroon got over $300 million to fight against covid. my government, which is extremely corrupt, the money just disappeared while people were dying. they did not have masks, we do not have oxygen and so on. the audit said they stole the money, basically. cameroon went back and asked for a $600 million loan and got it.
20 of us women, we would said this is not happening on our watch. we said we want you to do three things. one, published the object. number two, the cameroon government must tell you what they are going to change in the public finance management system so that money does not get stolen. interesting idea, right? the third thing we asked them to do is that the people -- the audit it very clear, it says this person took this amount of money. all those people are still sitting in their offices today managing money.
what we as women around the ground fighting and you know i have been arrested numerous times. i have been a water host, i have been kidnapped because i am asking my government to govern properly. i note that we as women have to step into those power structures and transform them. for me, where we are today, aside from our individual projects, is looking at how we build networks. when we did that as of 20 women, it was huge. we wrote this letter and got
coverage from bloomberg and financial times. and i do believe we shook up the imf internally as well. the tremendous thing about this network is that others asked me how do we do this for several african countries? we need to use this individual power that we have all built up, going to grassroots come out because if we want to have a chance, we have demobilized massively. we cannot be afraid. we cannot be afraid.
when we were writing to the imf people were like, really? we wrote to come out we got a meeting, we were able to talk to them. holding people's feet to the fire, even when they are women, because the imap is run by women right now. -- the imf is run by women right now. it is about the type of power that we want to come out the type of governance. i thank secretary clinton for talking about the autocrats. they are forming alliances. people asked me why do you think russians are becoming so influential in africa?
i don't know if it was your op-ed that i read in the economist, but there was a female leader who wrote what i felt was the best piece after the invasion of ukraine. she said you have been playing footsie with the dictator for a very long time. and this is the price. what i can say in africa is that the world has been playing footsie with applicant dictators for a very -- footsie with african dictators for a very long time. it is a question of our's collective survival. it is a question of all of us, women and men, that we come together and we put the
well-being of human beings back at the center of global governance, national governance, otherwise we are not going to make it. alyse: this discussion it could go on all day. absolutely outdated. we have run out of time. i want to give you the final word in response to all of this and thinking about our global network of 20,000 women. i have always felt like that is the power of this organization. not all of us. it is actually the network. how do we use it in these next 25 years? >> one of my favorite books is
another french writer. he wrote it when he was 17 years old. the book is a discourse on involuntary servitude. this is a book that everybody should read. the book asked the question, why were one million people shut up in front of one? this is the reason i have decided to do everything i have done in my life. today, vital voices has 20,000. the world has 3 billion. i keep coming back to this abortion question because it is huge. a lot of other cards will go down.
if you stop moving forward, you go backwards. for women, if you stop trying to move slowly forward, you will run backwards. that is how we are. going forward is very hard. going backwards for us is very easy because the whole world will push us backwards. i think about it as the first empathy for women. -- embassy for women. how do we get to the billions of women? one, believe it. we can touch 3 billion people. two come up tools.
two, the tools. and technology we need to get in. i am a human rights activist from tunisia. today i run a bank. i built a bank. why? because that is the most powerful thing i can put on your phone. your power is in your money and i want you to have access to that money. i think we at vital voices need to make this coming chapter bigger.