nprfreshair | Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped by Fresh Air on her national book tour for her new memoir, Hard Choices. In the interview Clinton explains how she was treated as an “honorary man” while traveling as Secretary of State:
When you’re a Secretary of State, as [Condoleezza] Rice and Madeleine Albright and I have discussed — it’s perhaps unfortunate, but it’s a fact — that you’re treated as a kind of an honorary man or a unique woman who comes from another place outside of the religion, outside of the culture.
I never ran into any personal problems with that. I had very frank discussions on a full range of issues in a lot of countries where women were denied their rights. But I always raised women’s rights, so it could not be said or assumed by the leader that I was happy with the position of being the “honorary man,” the representative of the government of the United States. And I think you’d hear the same from Condi and Madeleine.
You know full well, your eyes are open, you’re going into this and the reason they’re receiving you — and you don’t have your head covered and, in my case, I’m standing there in a pantsuit and I’m shaking their hand and it’s going to be on the front page of their newspaper — that they see that as an exception.
And I keep trying to demonstrate they can learn from our experience in our country, where over the long history of the United States we keep trying to make a more perfect union, and of course that includes trying to ensure the full participation of women.
Photo: Clinton meets with delegates from an Afghan women’s civil society during an international conference on the future of Afghanistan in 2011 via Human Rights Watch