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Hillary Clinton touts global push for women's equality

The woman most likely to try again to become the first female Leader of the Free World spent Wednesday morning highlighting her efforts to boost women’s rights around the globe. 

Appearing at a Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York City, Clinton called women’s equal participation in society “the unfinished business of the 21st century” and announced that she will lead an effort to evaluate progress on equality issues in 2015.

That effort will mark the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, a key moment in Clinton’s own rise as a global power player and champion for women’s rights.

Former U.S. Secretary of State and former first lady Hillary Clinton speaks during a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference in New York September 25, 2013. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

As first lady, Clinton famously attended the 1995 Beijing conference, where she excoriated China and other nations for poor human rights records on issues like sexual violence as well as coerced sterilizations and abortions.

“It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights,” she said at the time.

But, speaking in New York City Wednesday, Clinton said the mission of creating social and economic equality for women worldwide remains incomplete.

“I believe it’s time for a full and clear-eyed look at how far we have come, how far we still have to go and what we plan to do together about the unfinished business of the 21st century, the full and equal participation of women,” she said.

The former secretary of state also announced a series of new plans by the Clinton Global Initiative to help women and girls achieve equality throughout the world.

Those programs include efforts to advance women-owned businesses, offer technology education and advance internet connectivity in Africa.

Clinton did not allude to her own political ambitions at the CGI event, but she’s widely considered to be a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

In an interview with New York Magazine published on Sunday, Clinton replied “I do” when asked if she “wrestles” with running for president.

“I do,” Clinton said, “but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”