Hillary Clinton: "I disappointed so many young women and little girls" with election defeat

13 November 2019, 22:45

Hillary Clinton has been speaking at King's College London
Hillary Clinton has been speaking at King's College London. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The 2016 presidential nominee said she was "devastated" at her "shock" defeat whilst speaking at an event in London.

Hillary Clinton has told former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard that she felt she had "disappointed so many young women and little girls" when she was defeated in the 2016 US presidential election.

Speaking at an event at King's College London on Wednesday, Ms Clinton said she had"never dreamed about becoming president when she was a little girl".

Ms Clinton said: "I never thought I would or could be and for me it was the idea of building on the positive things and fixing the problems we had inherited in our country.

She also reflected on how hard it had been to deliver her concession speech.

"Of course I was devastated, it was such a shock. I can't even describe to you how it made no sense.

"It was really difficult getting up the next day and delivering a concession speech. I was particularly feeling the burden of having disappointed so many young women and little girls.

She continued: "Particularly little girls like from four to 12 who would come to see me, who would dress up like me and say they wanted to be president when they grew up and so I knew there was all of this new thinking that the campaign had brought about.

"I addressed all the little girls out there, telling them not to give up on their dreams, whatever their dreams might be."

Hillary Clinton said making her concession speech was "devastating"
Hillary Clinton said making her concession speech was "devastating". Picture: PA

On the issue of next year's US election, Mrs Clinton said it was going to be a close race.

She said said she recognised progress in female representation one election cycle after her candidacy.

Ms Gillard said: "I particularly like the odds on there being a female president after this election."

"Well, the odds are better by definition because there are more women running," Mrs Clinton replied.

"When I ran there were more American women in space than running for president. We've made progress, we're moving right along here.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but I think it's going to be a very tough election."

Hillary Clinton was beaten by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election
Hillary Clinton was beaten by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Picture: PA

Ms Gillard also highlighted research by the Global Institute for Women's Leadership and Policy Institute, which found people believe men are less likely to need intelligence to be successful.

She asked Mrs Clinton: "I was just wondering, can you think of a time where a super-smart woman perhaps lost out to a man who was less intelligent?", which drew laughs from the audience.

Mrs Clinton replied: "I would never say that intelligence is everything, but it is something."

The pair also addressed the point in the research which found one in 10 Britons said that a woman's looks were a key factor in helping them progress, compared to one in 25 when asked the same of men.

"It's these stereotypes of what a woman is expected to look like," Mrs Clinton said.

"Men are allowed to come in all shapes and sizes. All forms of dress, all kinds of presentation."

Hillary Clinton has been speaking to former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard
Hillary Clinton has been speaking to former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. Picture: PA

However, both acknowledged the progress women had made in the last few decades.

Mrs Clinton delivered a landmark speech to the UN World Conference on Women, where made her powerful statement that "women's rights are human rights".

Ms Gillard asked Mrs Clinton what advice she would give to her 1995-self with the benefit of hindsight.

She replied: "Go ahead and forge the same path, just recognise there are boulders and sinkholes and all kinds of challenges along the way."

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