SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: (Cheers, applause.) Hello, everyone! (Cheers, applause.) Hi. Thank you. Thank you all so much.
I want to thank Alison for that warm welcome and for her and all of the sponsors, the board, and leadership of the Massachusetts Conference for Women. It’s a great crowd, I love the energy, and I want to congratulate Deborah, Imanie and Andrea for their awards and all of their terrific work. (Applause.)
And I want to say how lucky I feel that I got here in time to watch on one of the back screens Lupita’s remarks. Wasn’t she terrific? And the advice and the life story and the extraordinary commitment she displayed.
I also want to acknowledge a friend who is in the audience, a friend to me and my family, a friend to the city, Angela Menino. We lost Tom much too soon. (Applause.) And, you know, his passing left a hole in our hearts and a life of the city that he loved and Angela, I think I can speak for all 10,000 of us when I say that our prayers are still with you and your family, and we thank you for your years of service to this community. (Cheers, applause.)
Before I begin today, I want to say a few words about the pain and frustration that many Americans are feeling about our criminal justice system. (Applause.)
I know that a lot of hearts are breaking and we are asking ourselves, “Aren’t these our sons? Aren’t these our brothers?”
I’m very pleased that the Department of Justice will be investigating what happened in Ferguson or Staten Island. (Cheers, applause.)
Those families and those communities and our country deserve a full and fair accounting, as well as whatever substantive reforms are necessary to ensure equality, justice, and respect for every citizen.
Now, more broadly, each of us has to grapple with some hard truths about race and justice in America because despite all the progress we’ve made together, African Americans, most particularly African-American men, are still more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms. (Applause.)
And when one stops and realizes a third of all black men face the prospect of prison during their lifetime, what devastating consequences that has for their families and their communities and all of us. The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population.
Now, that is not because Americans are more violent or criminal than others around the world. In fact, that is far from the fact. But it is because we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance. And I personally hope that these tragedies give us the opportunity to come together as a nation to find our balance again.
All over the country, there are creative and effective police departments demonstrating that it is possible to keep us safe and reduce crime and violence without relying on unnecessary force or excessive incarceration. And we all know there are decent, honorable, brave police officers out in our communities every single day inspiring trust and confidence rather than fear and frustration.
So let’s learn from the best examples. Let’s invest in what works. Let’s make sure that federal funds for state and local law enforcement are used to bolster best practices, rather than buy weapons of war that have no place on our streets or contribute to unnecessary force or arrest. (Cheers, applause.)
And I support the president’s announcement of a task force on policing that will make recommendations in about 90 days. He’s proposed funding for technology and training, which are important steps. But as we move forward, we can’t leave it to presidents, governors, mayors, police commissioners and chiefs.
The most important thing that each of us can do is to try even harder to see the world through our neighbor’s eyes. To imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes, to share their pain and their hopes and their dreams.
These tragedies did not happen in some far-away place. They didn’t happen to some other people. These are our streets, our children, our fellow Americans, and our grief.
Now, being here in Massachusetts, a place that has always called itself a commonwealth, I see a history where people slowly but surely overcame the obstacles to living in common, recognizing we are all in this together, we can all do better. That is true for each of us, it’s true for America. As Michael Brown’s father said, “We are stronger united.”
So it is in that spirit that I am so pleased to be here in Boston with you today. After all, this is where our American experiment began and where you continue to do so much to showcase the best of what makes us who we are as a people.
And, of course, the rich history of Massachusetts and Boston includes generations of women who did our part to move us toward a more perfect union.
It was from here in 1776 that Abigail Adams penned a letter to her husband in Philadelphia as he labored over the birth of a new nation. “Remember the ladies” she urged him. “We will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” (Applause.)
And it was a good reminder that the struggle for women’s equal rights began right at the beginning.
It was here in Massachusetts that Deborah Sampson took up arms, disguising herself as a man to fight for independence. It was here that abolitionists like Lucy Stone and Abby Kelley organized to end slavery. It was here that education pioneers like Mary Lyon insisted that women and girls had just as much right and need to learn as men and boys.
And writers like Emily Dickenson and Marita Bonner and Margaret Fuller found their distinctive American voices here.
Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first African-American professionally trained nurse in the commonwealth.
So artists and activists, labor leaders and freedom fighters, entrepreneurs and inventors, the women of Massachusetts have changed the course of history time and again. And I believe they will continue to change the course of history in your families, your workplaces, your communities, and your state. (Cheers, applause.)
You know, sometimes we women focus too much on our deficits. And I loved what Lupita said. You can fear failure, and you can fear success. You can be stopped by the dragons that you feel are peculiarly yours: doubt, indecision, insecurity.
But women everywhere have driven progress. We stand on the shoulders of so many of those who came before, some of them famous like the names I just mentioned. Some of them mothers, grandmothers, sisters, students, teachers, so many whose names may not be known in the history books, but who have contributed to our steady march forward for full equality, justice, and progress.
I think it’s fair to say in a place that is so imbued with history that we have to think about what we will accomplish. What will be our individual or our generational legacy?
I’ve seen so much progress in my own lifetime. Yet too may women here and around the world still face feelings that hold them down, that make it harder for them to pursue their own God-given potential.
Some of it is the circumstance of birth or health. Some of it is a lack of nurturing. Some of it is the internal as well as the external obstacles that stand in the way of too many. But some of it can be addressed through our political system, through our society.
Now, a few months ago when we were in the hospital waiting for the grand arrival of our granddaughter, one of the nurses came up to me and started talking about the families she sees every day. And the struggle that they have to balance the demands of work and parenthood. And how even while she’s taking care of someone else’s baby, her thoughts are, understandably, with her own children. Who’s watching them? What if her child gets sick? How can she be in two places at once?
We began talking about how hard it still is in the 21st century for women to balance family and work. She thanked me for fighting for paid leave. But I told her, “We still have so far to go.”
I remember how I felt all those years ago as a young mother. I had so many advantages. I had forces of support. Yet, like everyone I knew, I still felt squeezed.
I remember one morning as a young lawyer I was due in court at 9:30 for a trial. It was already 7:30. Chelsea was just two years old, she was running a fever, she was throwing up, my husband was out of town, the babysitter called in sick from the same illness. I had no relatives living nearby, the neighbors weren’t home.
So, frantically, I called a trusted friend who came to my rescue. But I still felt terrible all day that I had left my sick child to go to work.
I called home at every break in the trial. And as soon as it was over, I rushed back to the house. And when I opened the door, I saw my friend reading to Chelsea and she was, thankfully, feeling better. And for the first time all day, my heart stopped hurting.
Now, that was an exception for me, but I know for so many moms and dads that hurt, that guilt is with them every single day.
I believe that’s what drove the voters in Massachusetts to approve a paid sick leave on election day, being just the third state in the nation to do so. (Applause.)
And I think you have set a great model. We need to get paid leave provisions on every state ballot by 2016 that we can possibly manage to do, because the lack of flexible and predictable work schedules, no paid family leave, very few affordable and reliable childcare options, this is all part of a larger story about how hard it is today for families to hold together, hold together their lives, hold together a middle class lifestyle. It can feel like pushing a boulder uphill every single day.
I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be. I think we have to take a hard look about how we reinstate what is a basic bargain: If you work hard, you can make it, and that each generation has a little better than the one before.
Now, for women the barriers to upward mobility are especially stubborn. As you know, American women still tend to get paid less than men for the same work. In 2014 that is hard to believe.
Here in Massachusetts women have been fighting for fair pay for hundreds of years. It was just up the road that the women of the Lowell textile mills organized for fair pay in the 1830s. These women and more than a few girls worked long hours in harsh conditions for very little money. And when their bosses cut their wages by 15 percent, they went on strike.
Well, generations later, women still get paid less. And the gap widens with the so-called “motherhood penalty.” That is when women become mothers they take a pay cut, while men who become fathers often get a pay bump.
And while these challenges are most acute for women struggling to lift themselves and their families into the middle class, women up and down the income ladder face double standards and ceilings on advancement.
I know here in this room there are so many women who have worked hard, who have made their way to the highest levels of your field. You each have your own story. We all do. I remember being a young lawyer in different courtrooms and boardrooms and overhearing people talking about that lady lawyer.
Now, in too many ways those days are not yet behind us. Our economy has not kept up with the demand of 21st century living. In fact, it operates more like it was 1955, not 2014.
Women entrepreneurs still have a harder time accessing capital. Yet we know if more women had access to credit, more businesses would get off the ground, more jobs would be created, and more revenue generated, which would benefit everyone. (Applause.)
I remember working years ago on a project to get more credit for women entrepreneurs. And I met with women starting businesses or trying to expand their businesses all over the country. And I’ll never forget what one woman in Denver said to me. She said, “I’ve tried so hard but I can’t get through the door.” She said, “I have concluded that parking lots of banks are the places dreams go to die.”
It is still unfortunately the case that too many American women, despite their hard work, their work ethics, aren’t given the chance. Yet despite those obstacles, American women are starting businesses at double the speed they were just three years ago, more than 1,200 women-started businesses a day, more than 9 million in all, generating more than $1 trillion in revenue. So we can see here in our country what we know from around the world: When women and girls have opportunities to participate, economies grow and nations prosper.
There have been a lot of studies about this, and we know that if we close the global gap, the most recent study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, if we close the global gap in workforce participation between men and women, the gross domestic product worldwide would grow by nearly 12 percent by 2030.
Think of what that would mean for the economic recovery in the United States and globally. We cannot afford to leave that kind of income growth and potential on the table.
So to chart a path forward for women and girls we have to understand how far we’ve come, yet how far we still have to go. And the more people are informed by good data, the more they can make good decisions, and ultimately the more results you will see.
That’s why a year ago at the Clinton Foundation Chelsea and I launched a program we call No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project. We’re working with partners like the Gates Foundation to compile the data on the gains that women and girls have made, the gaps that remain, and what we need to do to accelerate progress.
Now, our full progress report will be out this spring, but the early returns show a mixed picture.
Here’s the good news. Around the world, more women and girls are going to school and opening businesses each year. More family friendly policies like paid sick leave and childcare are at least on the books. And where they are, more women are able to work to add to their family income.
But here’s the other news. There’s actually been a drop in women’s labor force participation around the world, and that the jobs women hold are too often the low wage jobs. Wage disparities persist, and women still spend more time per day on unpaid labor.
But the gains show that the glass can be half full. Progress is possible. There’s work to be done, but we have to keep fighting for women here at home and around the world.
And as we do so, we have to keep in mind the values that do hold us together, the values that hold us together as societies. We can’t rest until every person everywhere has that set of opportunities to make the most out of his or her life.
You know, talent is universal but opportunity is not. Not far from this convention center there are children who by any measure would be just as capable of growing up to be Lupta or Allison or any other successful woman. But the circumstances of their birth, the conditions of their families, the restrictions of their economic wellbeing pose real obstacles.
There will always be setbacks, and it can be easy to get discouraged, but beyond the headlines there is a movement stirring here at home and across the globe. You can see it in the families here in Massachusetts who demanded paid sick leave so they didn’t have to choose between their jobs and their kids.
You can see it in the moms and dads in San Francisco who fought for and won legislation to make schedules for hourly workers more predictable. Think of what it would be like if you were working an hourly job and you finished at 9:00 on Friday night and you didn’t know when you were supposed to be coming back in again, and all of a sudden you were told you needed to be there at 6:00 the next morning. If you’re a single mom or maybe you have a husband whose job is equally unpredictable, what do you do?
You can see it in Peggy Young, whose case against pregnancy discrimination was heard by the Supreme Court yesterday. (Applause.) And I’ve got my fingers crossed on that one.
You can see it in the students and members of the military who want a world that is free from the threat of sexual violence.
You can see it in the fast food workers who from coast to coast are asking for a living wage and their own chance to make life better for themselves and their children.
This is a movement and it is a movement that I believe will overcome the obstacles of gridlock and grandstanding. It won’t wait, and neither should we. What would our world be like today if we didn’t have all those poor mothers like Abigail Adams who spoke up, or Lucy Stone who organized, or Emily Dickinson who wrote? For the generations that follow us let’s continue to crash through ceilings and unlock the unlimited potential of every woman. Let’s help each other.
You know, my friend Madeleine Albright, who I adore, she was at Wellesley before me and we address our e-mails to one another, “Dear ’59,” “Love, ’69.” (Laughter.) Madeleine famously said, “There is a special spot in hell for women who don’t help other women.” (Laughter, applause.)
Not all of that help has to be big and dramatic. Not all of it has to be passing legislation or changing regulations or arguing in the Supreme Court, as important as all of those are. Some of them can be just a helping hand, a kind word, a bit of mentoring or coaching. But together we are stronger. So the more we do for each other, the more obstacles we overcome and knock down for ourselves and each other, the greater will be the realization of our founding values about equality, our love of freedom but also combined with community.
That I think is one of the great pieces of unfinished business, ensuring the full rights and opportunities of girls and women here at home and around the world. That can be a part of our own personal legacy. And it’s through gatherings like this that we can take stock and derive energy to keep moving forward together.
So as Abigail might say, our work is not yet done.
Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)
ANNOUNCER: And to lead a special conversation with Secretary Clinton please welcome to the stage Hannah Grove, Executive Vice President of State Street Corporation, and Chief Marketing Officer.
HANNAH GROVE: Madam Secretary, it’s such a thrill to have you here today, and just a quick housekeeping note, I know we’re running a little over on the program, but please relax, nothing will start until we’re finished here, and we’re very lucky to have the full 20 minutes of questions. So a real treat. Thank you.
I’m going to start off with a real toughie, it has to get in there. How was your first Thanksgiving with Ms. Charlotte?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: You know, how much time do we really have?
HANNAH GROVE: That’s okay.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: She’s the most advanced, most wonderful, most extraordinary nine-week old baby in the history of the world. It was so wonderful. I can’t stop grinning. I’ve got that grandmother glow that doesn’t quit. It is really transformational. I have heard this from my friends. I watched it happen with others. But Thanksgiving was particularly blessed because she was part of it.
HANNAH GROVE: That’s lovely. So it’s the season of giving, Thanksgiving and now getting into the holiday season, and I’m going to give you a magic wand, and if you could wave your magic wand and enact one policy that would help working women in America what would it be?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: It’s a great question, because there is a list, but I think what Massachusetts did in making clear that paid leave is absolutely essential in today’s work world is one of the most significant steps that can be taken.
And I think we’re overcoming this false idea that everybody is on their own in society and in the workplace. I value independence and freedom highly, but I also think we’re stronger together when we’re part of a community. And figuring out how to make paid leave, particularly paid sick leave, work.
And then, of course, equal pay for equal work and all the other agenda items, but that should fit into the larger magic wand moment of getting the economy working again, because too many people are still falling behind. And that erodes relationships and trust in our institutions and people’s belief in themselves. But if it’s one policy, we should do paid leave.
HANNAH GROVE: You mentioned strengths and I wanted to talk about that for a moment because when you think of your career and everything that you’ve achieved, one of the things that I’m awfully struck by is how much scrutiny you’re under. In reading your autobiography, if it’s not your politics, your opinions, it’s your hair. Your hair matters, right? And I think of this extraordinary strength that you have.
But it’s a sort of two-part question. I was also struck when you talk about your mother and the extraordinary childhood she had, and yet she maintained this incredible strength. So as you go out and in the world and had to face so much, do you take a lot from her or how do you cope? How do you protect yourself?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I’m sitting here after years of practice, because it doesn’t come easily or quickly. One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt where she said, if a woman wants to be in the public arena, she should grow skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros, because you are going to be criticized regardless of who you are and what you stand for or what you try to do.
As you mentioned, my mother had such a very difficult childhood and she put all of her energy and love and resilience into caring for me and for my brothers that once I understood that as I was a teenager and I realized how much harder her life was than mine was, I felt like I had to be inspired by and guided by what she had gone through.
And that’s what I’ve tried to remember, that no matter how hard it is, and no matter how much scrutiny you face, or how in your view unfair the criticism might be, you have to hang on to what’s most important. And for me learning how to take criticism seriously where appropriate but not personally has been a great lesson.
And as I listened to Lupita speaking earlier, we all go through that. Whether you want to be in public life or when I was practicing law, or whatever field you’re in, or in her case being an actor, you just have to decide what you’re doing is important to you, and you will learn from criticism because sometimes your critics will tell you things your friends will not tell you. But you have to stay committed on your path.
And I hope for everybody here there’s something in your personal, professional, public life that just really lights you up and gives you that sense of passion and commitment that will carry you through what are often difficult days.
HANNAH GROVE: Let me stay on that theme of adversity because as Secretary of State you met with many, many world leaders, many of whom will have had very, very narrow view about the role of women in society. And how did you negotiate with people that had that mindset? Did you feel that you had to sort of adjust your demeanor?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: No. I feel like I’ve been dealing with people whose attitudes about women have been less than progressive, acceptable for many, many years. Being Secretary of State gave me the chance to see it on a global platform up close and personally. I would make a couple of points. One, when you’re representing the United States of America in many of these countries you’re treated like an honorary man. (Laughter.)
HANNAH GROVE: I’m trying to think if that’s a good thing.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, it’s not a good thing. It’s a bizarre thing. But you’re taken places where you will see no other women, none. And everybody just pretends that you’re the only woman there, but you’re not really there as a woman, you’re there as a secretary of state. And you just get down to business.
But it is odd. And what I did was often to make a comment or address it in some way, where I would be at a meeting, I would be the only woman in the room with these foreign dignitaries, and I would say, you know, we need more women in public life and in diplomacy. And they would look at me and that kind of- you know that eye-rolling way. Okay, now she’s going to do her women’s thing, and let’s just be polite and it will be over soon.
It was funny. For those situations where I knew what they were thinking. They knew what I was thinking. And we would kind of go through it, and I would raise an issue. Sometimes it would be an issue about problems that laws existed in these countries where women were not able to work, or they couldn’t drive, or they couldn’t vote, or they were not given the chance to have access to the same health or education. You know, there would be a long list.
What I discovered about a year into it is that I had to change my argument from it would be better, it would be smarter, it would be right for you to do these things to guess what the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and all of the financial analysts are saying, the fact that you have so few women in the formal labor force means that your GDP is 8, 10, 12, 15 points lower than it might be.
All of a sudden they began paying attention, and then I could have a conversation about what it would mean for their economies. And remember, while I was there, the great recession was still very acute. And why it’s important to educate women, to open credit to women, to employ them, to get them into the workforce. You could then begin to see that it was not just a pro forma discussion that I was leading because I was the only woman there, but it was a really deeper understanding of what they were not doing.
Now for some of them it made no difference, but for others, other leaders, suddenly light bulbs seemed to go off. So you just have to look for ways to find whatever opening you can to make your argument.
HANNAH GROVE: And whatever their bottom line is.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Right.
HANNAH GROVE: So on that, sort of turning it into a positive, what did you see as Secretary of State that you felt was working in some countries for women that you might import, in a sense, to the U.S.? Were there best practices and examples that you noted?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, in other advanced economies, the support for women in the workplace is much greater than it is here. Leave programs, for example, ubiquitous. And so you see that it works in places. It doesn’t create the drag on the economic future that one sometimes hears. So you try to make that argument back here at home.
We’re also seeing that with the absence of quality affordable childcare the level of anxiety and stress in working women is incredibly high in many instances, the unpredictability of schedules that I mentioned before, but it goes beyond that. It’s just very difficult to try to find a safe, nurturing place for your child in many parts of our country that you can afford. And other countries have figured out a better system for doing that.
So when you’re looking at other advanced economies, I think it’s important to try to make the argument to learn from them to see how it would have to be tailored to fit our circumstances here.
HANNAH GROVE: And that issue of balance, I think, every woman and man in this room wrestles with. And particularly for the younger women in the audience, what advice would you give them in terms of being able to have meaningful work life, but also meaningful family life?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Right. There’s no one model that works. I’ve had friends who have done everything, had their first baby when they were 20, or had their first baby when they were 45, and all kinds of options in-between. It’s so individual. But there are certain external supports that the workplace and the society should be providing so that individual women can make the best choices for themselves and for their families.
It’s probably the most common thing I’m asked by younger women, how do you balance family and work? And the obvious thing to say is have a support system. Have an intact family, an extended family, a circle of friends, whatever it takes to make sure that you are supported while you try to go work and walk that world and do the very hard work of tending not just the children, but in many cases now older relatives.
My mother lived with us for the last 10 years of her life, and she was thankfully mostly healthy, but not always. And we had a support system within our family, and with friends outside to make sure that she had what she needed, people could run errands for her if I was gone, if Bill was gone, if Chelsea was gone. So I think you’ve got to construct that. And too many young women think they have to do it all themselves. Somehow it’s a sign of weakness or they don’t want to ask for help, but that is just not the best way to go. Find people who will help when you need it, and try to create your own support system. And then work for the changes like what you voted for here in Massachusetts in this last election.
HANNAH GROVE: Exactly. And it does take that village in however you assemble it.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: That’s right. I really believe it.
HANNAH GROVE: We’ve got, again, as I’ve said, many young women in the audience, some of whom are still at college, some of whom have just graduated, and the theme of the event is very much about advocating for the next generation of women leaders. What advice would you give, Madam Secretary, to your 18-year-old self, or any of the sort of Millennials in the audience when it comes to that particularly advocacy?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think there should be a broad definition of leadership. It’s not all about holding high positions in corporations or in government or academia. That’s important leadership. And if that’s what you are driven to do, that’s what you choose to do, get the best possible grounding in it, learn as much as you can, watch other people and model yourself after them. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you get knocked down, dust yourself off, get back up, keep going.
But leadership can be demonstrated in a lot of different ways. You can pick a problem that you’re concerned about and put together a group of your own to tackle an environmental problem, a human rights problem, a very personal intervention in the lives of somebody in your community.
So I think leadership should not be put way up here. What makes our country historically so effective is that people assume citizenship roles, volunteer roles, leadership roles without anybody telling them to, because the problem is there and you want to be part of solving it.
And when de Tocqueville came to this country back in the early 1830s he noticed how Americans were always joining associations to solve problems, maybe it was making a quilt for the winter, maybe it was putting up a barn, maybe it was starting the first fire department, or a midwife service, whatever it might have been. And he said that was because we had habit of the heart of service and of leadership.
So I like to encourage particularly young millennials who are very community oriented, I think millennials get this really unfair rap. They are so connected. They are so socially aware. They are willing to put themselves out there, volunteer, start groups, make a difference, and I would just urge them to be part of the next generation of advocacy by defining how we do it using technology, how we do it on the front lines of change.
I’m very excited about what is going to be coming from these young women and men and obviously I want to be there cheering you on, because I think there are so many ways to look at problems differently and come up with solutions that haven’t even yet been imagined. And that’s going to be one of this generation’s real challenges.
HANNAH GROVE: So take that daisy chain challenge that Allison gave us all.
So we’ve got time for one last question and, Madam Secretary, I have to ask you this. I think it’s a question that’s on- that’s on everybody’s mind. You served for eight years as our first lady. I have to ask what qualities will be most important for a first gentleman? (Applause.)
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: That is very clever, very clever. (Applause.)
HANNAH GROVE: Supportive, saxophone playing?
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Musical, yes. I will say something somewhat serious about this. You know, I spent an hour with the president yesterday going over a lot of different issues and I was thinking as we were sitting there in the Oval Office talking that I’ve known a lot of presidents over the course of the last many decades and it is such a hard job. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, where you’re from, what your political aspirations are. It is such a challenging job. And you need people starting in your family, but going to your friends, beyond a larger circle, who will really be there for you and continue to treat you like a human being, because you can easily lose touch with what’s real, what’s authentic, who you were before you raised your hand and were sworn into office.
We used to have a steady stream of Bill’s oldest friends. Make new friends, because you might learn something. You see people that you are interested in. And we had a steady stream of people who we would spend time with, have dinner with, just to be able to sort of let down and relax some. And for every single president that is one of the biggest challenges. So whether it’s a man or a woman, the support system is absolutely critical.
It used to be in years past presidents like the Roosevelts, or Harry Truman, or Dwight Eisenhower, or Jack Kennedy, or even Lyndon Johnson they would go away. They would go to their ranch, or their home, or in Harry Truman’s case he’d get on the presidential yacht and he’d sail down to Key West. Now I don’t think that was just because they wanted a vacation. It was because they wanted to breathe, they wanted to think, they wanted to understand what was really important and what maybe was not, even if it was in the headlines.
And here’s what I worry about. I worry about now the stress on anybody in a leadership position, multiply it many times over to be president, the incoming never ends, technology connects you around the world instantaneously. So you’re constantly being asked for opinions to make decisions that maybe you need more time to think about.
HANNAH GROVE: Yes.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Maybe you need to sleep on it. Maybe you need to bring in some people to talk to about it. But, the pace of demand is so intense that you feel like you’ve got to respond. So the job is unforgiving in many ways and therefore I think you need people around you who will kid you, make fun of you. I have no shortage of such people in my own life. (Laughter.) I was saying backstage that one of my dearest friends from sixth grade she’s tired of explaining that I never could do my hair. This is not a new failure on my part. When I was in sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade I was equally inept. It’s good to be reminded of such historical importance as that.
But, seriously, I think that you would want people who are there, because they can revitalize your energy, your thinking, get you to perhaps take yourself less seriously and if necessarily listen to you as you try to work through some of the incredibly hard problems.
HANNAH GROVE: Madam Secretary, thank you so much, a set of broad shoulders, you’re inspiring.
SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you.