Exciting times to be a woman, Clinton tells students (Lead)

July 20th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) These were exciting times and a better time in human history than any other to be a woman, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday and asserted that this was an opportunity and responsibility she “willingly” accepted.
Addressing a gathering of over 1,000 people, mostly students, at the Delhi University here, Clinton added that in the 21st century, women’s woes were as important as any other.

“It is exciting and if there is any better time in human history to be woman it is right now in the modern world. For me, this is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility that I willingly accept,” Clinton told her audience at the Delhi University Convention Hall in the Old Viceregal Lodge.

The event was hosted by Delhi University Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental.

“As we look at the world in the 21st century, we recognise that womens’s woes are an important issue as any other that we can list,” Clinton, dressed in a white business suit with a string of pearls around her neck, said.

“We expect to resolve the many difficulties that we have to face and I believe that groups that are bringing women together and giving them a chance to stand up for themselves - I think it is very important.”

She spoke extensively on the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), whose shop she visited in Mumbai, and said: “I think globally women’s empowerment and rights remains a mixed picture.”

“We certainly have many countries where women and girls are very advanced, where they are in position of responsibility.”

Praising the Indian government’s initiatives on empowering women, Clinton said: “I applaud the Indian government and the Indian people for recognising that eradication of poverty must be a primary goal and by doing so you have to focus on poor women and their children because that is the generational change that makes difference.”

Answering a question from a student on how she balances her personal life and her hectic schedule as a politician, a smiling Clinton said: “I supported my husband’s rather successful life in politics. I just couldn’t enter politics as my daughter was growing up.”

“It was difficult every moment to make a decision. I found it difficult to enter politics and raising my daughter especially with the demanding schedule required,” Clinton, who lived in the White House for two terms when her husband Bill Clinton was president and her daughter Chelsea was growing up, said.

So, she added, it was not until she was “older” that she entered politics and got a chance to pursue her “public service interests” and also take care of her family responsibilities.

Quoting an American rabbi amid much laughter, she said: “On the deathbed, no one ever said that I wish to spend more time in office.”

Listening raptly were students from Delhi University, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur as well as youth from Pakistan, who are part of the Seeds for Peace initiative.

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