More than 20 years ago in Beijing, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the First Lady of the United States, brushed off the advice of White House aides to avoid diplomatic issues and delivered a landmark speech about women's rights. "Women's rights are human rights," Clinton thundered, propelling herself to the international stage as an unflinchingly political first lady.
Early last week at the Texas Women's Conference, that line was echoed in a speech by international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who was the event's keynote speaker. Amid addressing the risks of a Donald Trump presidency, Clooney reminded women to perform "everyday acts of feminism" and to lift each other up.
"The worst thing that we can do as women is not stand up for each other, and this is something we can practice every day, no matter where we are and what we do — women sticking up for other women, choosing to protect and celebrate each other instead of competing or criticizing one another," she said, adding Clinton's enduring declaration that "women's rights are human rights."
Clooney also took on the president-elect's inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims.
"[Trump's remarks] that there should be a religious test imposed on entering the U.S. or the fact that there should be state-sponsored torture or that families of suspected terrorists should all be killed — all of those things are violations of international human rights law and the values that underlie that," Clooney said, adding that she has heard some concerns from the international community about this. "I think there's some concern from abroad as to are these things actually going to happen, or is the U.S. going to lose some of the moral standing that it has internationally."
But she also seemed tentatively optimistic, holding up Trump's claim that defeating ISIS is a priority as a positive. It's an issue close to her heart; Clooney is currently leading the charge to prosecute ISIS in the International Criminal Court for human trafficking and genocide against the Yazidi community.
"The president-elect has said that fighting ISIS is actually a priority ... so it may be that there can be progress, and obviously everyone has to respect the outcome of the democratic process here, and we have to hope for the best," she said.
Cover image via Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
(H/T:The Hollywood Reporter)