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S. 13 originals. Thank you very much, Gertrud Mangala, for your dedicated work that has brought us to this point. Distinguished delegates and guests, I would like to thank the secretary general for inviting me to be part of this important United Nations Fourth World conference on women. This is truly a celebration, a celebration of the contributions women make in every aspect of life in the home, on the job, in the community as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders.


Even then, she inspired starkly different emotions, liberals loved her, conservatives well, conservatives didn't. As the first baby boomer first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton was an inspiration to many and a subject of infuriation to others. Alternately caricatured as a pioneering woman leader and as a Lady Macbeth, she was an unelected policy force in her husband's administration, which shouldn't have been surprising. After all, Bill Clinton had told voters in 1992 that they'd be getting two for the price of one if they sent the couple to the White House.


The best of Hillary Clinton was on display during a single speech in Beijing in the late summer of 1995. It was nearly a year after voters had firmly rejected the course of her husband's presidency in the 1994 midterm Republican landslide.


At this very moment, as we sit here, women around the world are giving birth, raising children, cooking meals, washing clothes, cleaning houses, planting crops, working on assembly lines, running companies and running countries. Women also are dying from diseases that should have been prevented or treated. They are watching their children succumb to malnutrition caused by poverty and economic deprivation. They are being denied the right to go to school by their own fathers and brothers. They are being forced into prostitution and they are being barred from the bank lending offices and banned from the ballot box.


Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not. I'm Jon Meacham, and this is it was said Episode eight, Hillary Clinton. Women's rights are human rights.


It was a really extraordinary statement coming from anyone, but especially coming from her at that moment, and I think it's the last of the things she cared about most in life, the fate of women and girls, not only empowering them, but giving them a sense of security, allowing them to live in a safer world. It really is a watershed moment. It was Hillary Clinton's declaration that jumpstarted a global movement. The trip almost didn't happen on Monday, June 19th, 1995, a Chinese dissident, Harry Wu, was arrested by the regime in Beijing.


A first lady's attendance at the UN women's conference was now controversial.


Most of what the world knows about China's vast gulag of forced labor camps. It knows because of one man, Harry Wu.


Harry Wu has become a symbol of how fast US Chinese relations are deteriorating. The Clinton administration is under intense congressional pressure to punish China if Wu is not freed soon.


It had, in fact, been controversial all along. Two conservative Republican senators, Jesse Helms of North Carolina and Phil Gramm of Texas, had attacked Clinton's proposed visit, saying the conference was, quote, shaping up as an unsanctioned festival of anti family anti-American sentiment. Now, with Wu's arrest, liberal elements in America were wary because of the Chinese government's violation of Wu's human rights. As Clinton recalled, it was a legitimate concern for me and for others in the White House and State Department.


I knew the Chinese government wanted to use the conference as a public relations tool to improve its image around the world. If I went, I help China look good. If I boycotted, I triggered bad publicity for the Chinese leadership. Amid the diplomatic brinksmanship, the regime convicted Wu and expelled him, opening the way for Hillary Rodham Clinton to go to Beijing.


The reason these men and women are going to Beijing is to focus world attention on the issues that matter most to women and families health care, education, economic opportunity, political freedom and participation and human rights.


Mrs. Clinton adds a very important, if not key, voice to the causes the women will be talking about in Beijing.


It was a milestone for growing up in Illinois. Hillary Rodham had been raised a Methodist as a teenager. She was a Goldwater girl during the 1964 campaign. By the time she was an undergraduate at Wellesley and a law student at Yale, she, like so many in her generation, had moved leftward. Clinton had worked for Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund and had come to believe in the power of the public sector to ameliorate lives, especially those of women and girls who were particularly vulnerable in the next four years.


Let us all, from Little Rock to Washington, D.C., be as committed as we can and whatever role we play as parents, as grandparents, as workers, as professionals, as advocates, as citizens to try in our own way to make family values mean that we value all families and that we remain committed to the proposition that they deserve the help that they need to have so that they can give the best possible future to their own children, which in turn assures all of us a better and more hopeful future as a nation.


Before Beijing, at a different conference, this one held in India, Clinton had heard another speaker quote, a poem written by a young student. Too many women in too many countries speak the same language of silence. As Clinton recalled, I couldn't get the poem out of my head when she quoted the lines in India, the poem struck a chord with the audience members, many of whom were touched, that I would draw on the thoughts of a schoolgirl to evoke the condition of women everywhere.


The spirit of the poem stayed with her silence was not an option. En route to Beijing, Clinton was working on the fifth or sixth draft on the plane. Madeleine Albright, then the ambassador to the United Nations, asked the first lady a key question. What do you want to accomplish? I want to push the envelope as far as I can on behalf of women and children, Mrs. Clinton replied. And so she did. On Tuesday, September 5th, 1995, in a plenary hall, she recalled, looked like a mini United Nations.


Mrs. Clinton spoke boldly.


It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food or drowned or suffocated or their spines broken simply because they are born girls.


It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.


It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives. It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.


It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will. If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all. And among those rights are the right to speak freely and the right to be heard.


And a lot of ways, I think if there are too many speeches by first ladies that have stood the test of time, as it were, and for that alone is remarkable speech.


This is the professor and historian Sean Wilentz.


She delivered this memorable line that women's rights are human rights and human rights and women's rights. You know, that was a controversial move that she made. Remember nineteen ninety five, the Republicans had recaptured Congress. She was under a lot of pressure. The State Department and others were a little worried about her using that line. They might think that the Chinese in particular would be offended. And it was a really extraordinary statement coming from anyone, but especially coming from her at that moment.


And I think it's resonated and it's lasted. I don't think that people have thought anywhere in the West and not just in the West. I don't think that anybody has thought about women's rights in quite the same way ever since. The sentiment goes back, actually, I mean, you can find it being expressed in the course of American history, at any rate, going back, but Hillary Clinton really brought it to the fore in an extraordinary way in that speech.


In a sense, Clinton was working within a tradition established by a hero of hers, Eleanor Roosevelt, who addressed the subject of human rights before a U.N. conference in Paris in 1948.


As Mrs. Roosevelt said then, it is a declaration of basic principles of human rights and freedoms to be stamped with the approval of the General Assembly by a vote of its members and to serve as a common standard of achievement for all peoples of all nations.


We stand today at the threshold of a great event, both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This Universal Declaration of Human Rights may well become the international Magna Carta of all men everywhere. Now, nearly half a century later, Mrs. Clinton was expanding Mrs. Roosevelt's vision to explicitly include issues affecting women and girls, women must enjoy the rights to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure.


It is indefensible that many women in nongovernmental organizations who wish to participate in this conference have not been able to attend or have been prohibited from fully taking part.


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A contested election, an extraordinary legal battle. You might think I'm talking about worst case scenarios for November, but I'm actually referring to Bush v. Gore in the year 2000 with the twenty twenty election upon us. The stakes couldn't be higher and the outcome may not be clear until long after everyone has voted.


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The immediate audience was the gathering of delegates, Mrs. Clinton remembered them as women and men of all complexions and races, some in Western garb and many dressed in their nation's traditional clothing. The majority wore headphones to listen to simultaneous translations of the speeches. That was a curveball that I hadn't anticipated. As I spoke, there was no response to my words, and I found it difficult to get into a rhythm or gauge the crowd's reaction because the pauses in my English sentences and paragraphs didn't coincide with those in the dozens of other languages the delegates were hearing.


It didn't matter. The larger audience was a global one, and the speech came to be seen as a landmark in the evolving world consciousness about women and girls. You know, it's a rare time in history when a speech can be such a watershed moment that it changes the world. And you may think that I am really overexaggerating here, but it's not.


This is the historian and founding editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Aledo Black. It really is a watershed moment, as dramatic as that sounds, although gathering's in Vienna that dealt with human rights finally pulled women in. And even though women of the world had gathered in Nairobi to really address violence against women under a rights rubric, it was Hillary Clinton's proclamation. I mean, her declaration on the floor of Beijing that jumpstarted a global movement. Now, everybody in the world heard her.


They understood what it meant. It was a clarion call to action. Let me be clear.


Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize and debate openly. It means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions. Now it is the time to act on behalf of women everywhere. If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families to families, rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care.


Families rely on women for labor in the home and increasingly everywhere. Families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives.


I've done human rights work with women around the world and in the over 20 countries that I've been to, I cannot have a conversation with a woman or a man or anyone who is interested in human rights without them coming up and telling me where they were that day. It is like, you know, the road to Damascus. It's the conversion moment when they finally understood the power of their own voices and that the risks that they had taken would be recognized by the world.


My friend Lucy Ayala in Liberia was imprisoned in the most violent prison in Africa for five years. She was the only woman you can imagine the horrors, the daily violation that she experienced. She was beaten so severely, she told me she swam in her own blood. But when she heard Hillary speech, she said to me, I realized that I was not alone, that there was another woman in the world who shared the same vision that I felt.


And I redoubled my efforts and went back home to organize. And it marked a step in another evolution to that of Hillary Clinton. The New York Times wrote that the speech may have been her finest moment in public life. The Beijing speech was something she cared passionately about, and it was a way to establish herself as a political figure.


This is the journalist and McDaniel. She surrounded herself with very smart women and men, and she made sure that it was a speech that was dynamic, that was expressive, that allowed her to take a very strong political position, that established her as a woman in her own right who might be president one day. It was a speech that told the world that a woman was being respected in the United States, that a woman had the power to make the changes and that the things she cared about most in life, the fate of women and girls, giving them not only empowering them, but giving them a sense of security, allowing them to live in a safer world, allowing them to creating a world that they would be respected and supported and given equal rights and equal pay.


She used that speech to launch her own political career.


As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued, less fed, less fed, last overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes, the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.


It would not be the last America or the world would hear from Hillary Clinton. Let this conference be our and the world's call to action, let us heed that call so we can create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity. Every boy and girl is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future. That is the work before you. That is the work before all of us who have a vision of the world we want to see for our children and our grandchildren.


The time is now. We must move beyond rhetoric. We must move beyond recognition of problems to working together to have the common efforts to build that common ground. We hope to see God's blessings on you, your work and all who will benefit from it. Godspeed and thank you very much.


On the next episode of it was said, a 23 year old John Lewis, speaking at the March on Washington, calls a nation to moral account. He didn't want to be patient. He said he wanted freedom now. Thank you for listening to it was said a creation and production of C 13 originals, a division of Caden's 13 in association with history. Executive produced by me, Jon Meacham and Chris Corcoran, directed by Lloyd Lockridge, edited, produced, engineered and master by Chris Bazil with production support and research by Bill Schulz and Jon McDermitt and research assistants by Ian Mott.


Creative consultation by Eli Lehrer and Jesse Katz, graphic design, marketing and publicity by Josephine, Frances Kirk, Courtney and Hillary, Chef. Our theme song is I Can Almost See You by Hammock in our closing credits song is Light by Michael Kiwanuka.


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