Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the 12th Annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit on October 6 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton spoke about the power of mentoring, and supporting women and girls.
The Secretary said, "I am a firm believer in the power of mentoring. There are women and girls in our country and around the world who have the talent, the intellect, the drive to succeed, but who lack the support. I have become convinced that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And you never know when what you do or say can open that door to opportunity for someone who is ready to walk through it, but could not get under, around, or over it without your help. And still in too many places, support for women is in short supply. But through mentoring, we can help meet that need. And it's low-cost, high-impact, and deeply rewarding.""[I]t might seem that an executive in the United States and an entrepreneur from a village in Bangladesh or a crowded slum in Kenya do not have enough in common to connect meaningfully through mentoring. But in fact, we do. We are connected by shared experiences and aspirations no matter the circumstances of our lives. And through global mentoring programs, we can replicate one of those shared experiences, one that happens every day in countless places around the world, women coming together to support each other and to see how we can together make progress."
Secretary Clinton continued, "Last year in Mumbai, I visited a shop owned and operated by women selling crafts and textiles, most of whom come from the very lowest socioeconomic stratum, all of whom are organized through one of the most effective women's organizations in the world, the Self-Employed Women's Association known as SEWA. I've worked with SEWA for many years. I have literally seen the transformation in lives that banding together has catalyzed in individual women's lives.""I also, last summer, went to -- went back to Cape Town, and for the third time, I visited a group of women who, on their own, transformed their position as squatters into homeowners and then community leaders. I'd already been to one of the housing developments that these women through their own sweat equity had created, and this time I went to the second housing development that they are starting. The women that I have come to know don't have much education, but they are among the most powerful and effective women I have ever met. And they have created now two thriving communities where before there was apathy if not despair."
She continued, "Now, we are just beginning a new initiative called TechWomen that I announced in April during the President's Entrepreneurship Summit here in Washington. Through TechWomen, we will match women in Muslim-majority countries with women working in tech companies here in the U.S. And we will send American mentors to their proteges' countries to engage on a wider scale with the people there. We obviously want to harness one of America's great strengths -- our excellence in technology and innovation -- and use it to build effective and lasting partnerships with rising women leaders in Muslim countries. And I invite you to participate in that.""We're also partnering with companies to support women, and indeed, working with the private sector is such a critical element that I want to mention just one of our public-private partnerships. You'll be hearing from Andrea Jung later today, and earlier this year, the Avon Foundation made a grant of $500,000 to the Secretary's Fund for Global Women's Leadership to accelerate the fight against the global epidemic of violence against women. And I want to thank Andrea and Avon for that. We are using this money to identify and support local programs that are addressing this epidemic."
You can read the full transcript here.