Recalling Hillary Clinton’s speech on women’s rights in Manila from 1996
Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially clinched the ruling Democratic Party’s presidential nomination Wednesday morning (Manila time). Mrs. Clinton is the first woman to be the standard-bearer of a major political party in American history. She will be facing real estate magnate and former reality show host Donald Trump, the opposition Republican Party’s nominee, for the general elections scheduled this November.
Mrs. Clinton is a familiar face for Filipinos, dating back to her time as First Lady, Senator from New York, and as Secretary of State. She has visited the Philippines at least thrice, where she met Presidents Fidel Ramos (1996), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2009), and Benigno Aquino III (2011).
Clinton first visited the Philippines in November 1996 when the country hosted that year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Her husband Bill Clinton was the president at that time, and the summit was held just three weeks after he won a second term over Republican challenger Robert Dole.
While APEC leaders were having their meetings, Mrs. Clinton was the keynote speaker in a Women’s Forum organized by the National Council of Women of the Philippines. The event came just a year after she made her famous “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
During her remarks at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Mrs. Clinton emphasized that for economies to thrive, women must be included as equal. “Even as the APEC leaders gather here, efforts are underway through non governmental organizations such as the council and networks among senior women leaders throughout the Asia Pacific region to ensure that women are full participants in the economic progress that the APEC arrangements represent,” she said.
“In country after country, from the most advanced democracies to those newly emerging, from the most dynamic free market economies to those reeling from the pace of global change, women are still striving to define and attain their rightful place in government, the economy and civil society and claim their share of personal, political, economic and civic power.”
Despite being labeled frequently as a flip-flopping politician, advocacy for women’s rights is a theme that she has put front and center throughout her public life. According to a report by the Associated Press, over 12,000 people including teachers, schoolgirls, girl scouts, community leaders, as well as politicians and politician’s wives attended the event.