Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the 2009 commencement address at Barnard College today. She was joined on stage with other remarkable women Barnard President Debora Spar, PepsiCo’s Chief Executive Officer Indra K. Nooyi, Harvard University’s William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts Irene J. Winter, and former general counsel to the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice Kay C. Murray.
In addition to being the guest speaker, she was awarded the college's highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.
"I am thrilled to be here and to participate in this important commencement of this great university – this great college, because I, too, am a graduate of a women’s college – and I think it’s the best investment that I and my parents ever made."Seeing that Barnard is one of few womens colleges in the U.S. Hillary's speech focuses much on womens issues:
"Now let me be clear: women around the world lead varied lives, and for many women, religion and culture are important sources of spiritual growth, identity, and pride. But the retrograde regimes around the world that pervert religion and culture to perpetuate violence and stand in the way of freedom and make women their primary targets are a different story. The subjugation of women – the denial of their rights as human beings – is not an expression of religion or of God’s will. It is a betrayal of both.She also brought up social networking in her speech, which was a little surprising but thrilling nonetheless!
And women’s progress is more than a matter of morality. It is a political, economic, social and security imperative for the United States and for every nation represented in this graduating class. If you want to know how stable, healthy, and democratic a country is, look at its women, look at its girls."
"And with these social networking tools that you use every day to tell people you’ve gone to get a latte or you’re going to be running late, you can unite your friends through Facebook to fight human trafficking or child marriage, like the two recent college graduates in Colombia – the country – who organized 14 million people into the largest anti-terrorism demonstration in history, doing as much damage to the FARC terrorist network in a few weeks than had been done in years of military action.
And you can organize through Twitter, like the undergraduates at Northwestern who launched a global fast to bring attention to Iran’s imprisonment of an American journalist. And we have two young women journalists right now in prison in North Korea, and you can get busy on the internet and let the North Koreans know that we find that absolutely unacceptable."