Hillary Rodham Clinton, The Refinery29 Interview
Refinery29: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for joining us today.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Thank you, I’m delighted to be here with you." R29: Can you tell us a little bit about where we are and why we're here?
HRC: "Yes. We are on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa, and I came here today to roll out a policy about sexual assault on campus. I chose to come here because they have actually been a leader in trying to figure out how to have a comprehensive system, a fair process, and increased education and prevention. I wanted to come to a place that is really trying to deal with the problem and not deny it, not push it under the rug. One in five women are affected by sexual assault on campuses and, as you know, throughout our society this is a serious problem for everyone. It’s something that I am personally committed to trying to address."
HRC: "That's a really fair question, because usually when you run for president you talk about the economy, you talk about national security, you talk about some additional issues like health care and education, all of which, of course, I’m talking about and have very specific ideas about. I want to be the president who takes on these big issues — whether it's climate change, or Syrian refugees, or ISIS, or anything else — but I also want to be the president who really helps people with the problems that they worry about in their own lives; the problems that keep you up at night.
Part of my message to young women is, 'First and foremost, believe in yourself, believe in who you are.'
HRC: "I understand that; I know that it's not easy. I remember very well: The first job I had out of law school, I didn’t negotiate; the second job out of law school, I didn’t negotiate. I was just so happy to have a job, and have a job that I thought would be purposeful and give me some real opportunity to grow. But the more I represented people, the more I was a lawyer for people, the more I saw what was happening out in the work world, the more convinced I became that young women need to follow Sheryl Sandberg's advice about leaning in. Doing it in a smart way, not in a way that's going to cause a lot of waves, but a way in which it's going to put your worth front and center. "I've worked with a lot of young people in my various jobs over the years, and often when I come to a young woman and I say, 'I want to give you more responsibility' or 'We think you're ready for a bigger job,' she will say, 'Do you really believe that?' or 'Are you sure?' And that's kind of ingrained in us: 'Wait a minute — are you really talking to me?' When I go to a young man and I say, 'We're looking for greater responsibility for you, maybe a different job,' honestly, they will say, in not exactly these words, but the message will be, 'What took you so long? Of course, I am ready, I am able.' So part of my message to young women is, 'First and foremost, believe in yourself, believe in who you are. You have a unique contribution to make to the world; we all have gifts and they are all different gifts. And you have something that can make life better. Not just in your home, with your relationships, but in the broader world of work and society and politics.' "So study what experts — people who have been very successful, like my friend Sheryl Sandberg and others — tell you about how to do this, and how to take that deep breath. It is scary, but go ahead and try it out with your friends, and just be specific, like, 'Here is what I've done, here is the feedback I've gotten. I really believe I am the best person to continue this project or this work plan, and I want to be sure that I am paid accordingly.' "It's scary, but we need women supporting other women, too; we need to remove the mystery about pay. In some places, you can't even find out what somebody else doing the same job is getting. And so, we have to get more transparency and more information, so that young women are supported in the risk they feel they are taking in trying to get paid fairly and equally."
HRC: "Well, I am thrilled to meet so many young women who believe exactly as you are describing. That they are hopeful, they are optimistic, because there has never been a better time in history or a better place in history to be a young woman than in the United States of America in 2015. And I feel that so strongly. So, yes, do we have some challenges? Of course, we do. We're human beings; we're going to have challenges. But we have to keep working to make our country the place it should be, the place we know it can be. "But what really excites me about a lot of millennials is that there is a great devotion to public service. I hear it, I see they get involved in all kinds of service activities and projects in their community, at their workplace, on their campus if they're still in school. So they really do feel the urge to try to improve somebody's life, to try to deal with both small problems here at home, like trying to clean up a park, and giant problems around the world, like combating climate change.
Don’t give up on politics; don't turn away from politics.
I said to myself, 'Gosh, I don’t want to be hypocritical. I go around telling women to be in politics, and now people are asking me.'