MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — As she weighs another bid for the White House, Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday she has a “grandmother glow” that’s fueling her campaign for female empowerment and gender equality around the world.
Speaking to a national convention of female real estate professionals, the former secretary of state and potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender called on business and political leaders to close the gap in wages and leadership positions between men and women.
Clinton, who joked that she felt that glow after the recent birth of her first grandchild, Charlotte, said she wanted all women to grow up in a world of “full participation and shared prosperity.”
“I think my granddaughter has just as much God-given potential as a boy who was born in that hospital on the same day,” she said.
In a speech that drew heavily on her own professional and personal experiences — including several references to her bruising presidential campaign in 2008 — Clinton said women face double standards in business and politics and that governments should work to enact policies that break down barriers to equal opportunity. Her remarks were met with standing ovations.
“These ceilings I’m describing don’t just keep down women, they hold back entire economies and countries,” she said, “because no country can truly thrive by denying the contributions of half of its people.”
Clinton has repeatedly hit those themes as she travels the campaign trail to help Democrats in the midterm elections. On Thursday, she said the U.S. should eliminate what she called the “motherhood penalty” by requiring paid leave for new mothers. The measure, she said, would pave the way for more women to participate in the workforce.
“Laws matter,” Clinton said. “I believe 100 percent in women being able to make responsible choices, but it’s hardly a choice if you’re working at a low-wage job, you get no leave and you can’t even afford to bond with your baby because you have to get back to work.”
Clinton was also in South Florida to promote her book about her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat and to help Democrat Charlie Crist raise money for his gubernatorial campaign. Crist, a former Republican governor, is locked in a tight race with GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who has outspent the Democratic nominee by a 2-1 margin in television advertising.
Clinton has said she expects to make a decision on a White House bid by the beginning of next year. The appearances help increase her exposure to voters in the nation’s largest swing-voting state and allow her to reconnect with some of the same big-money donors who supported her and her husband’s past political campaigns.
MICHAEL J. MISHAK, Associated Press