Hillary Clinton Jokes About Post-Election Life, Calls for Future Female Politicians

Hillary Clinton 2017 Girls Inc Speech - Getty - H 2017
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"If we are serious about building a better, stronger and fairer America, we need to be serious about supporting and nurturing our girls," she said during a rousing speech at a Girls Inc. luncheon.

Hillary Clinton is hopeful about the future of women in politics.

“Let us hope there is a wave of young women running for office in America, and let’s be sure we support them in every way we can,” said the former presidential candidate upon receiving Girls Inc.'s Champion for Girls award. “Let’s help them shatter stereotypes and lift each other up. They are the history-makers, the glass-ceiling breakers of tomorrow. They are among the reasons I am so optimistic about our future.”

“Women are both smart enough and good enough to be considered for anything they choose to pursue. … We have to teach every girl that she is valuable, powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity to pursue and achieve her own dreams,” she urged. “If we are serious about building a better, stronger and fairer America, we need to be serious about supporting and nurturing our girls. Our country can only fulfill its potential when every single child — particularly, every girl — can fulfill hers.”

During her rousing speech on Tuesday at the New York Marriot Marquis, Clinton joked about her post-election life — photos of which have gone viral. “The truth is, life hands all of us setbacks,” she said to laughter and applause upon referencing the presidential election results. “I’ve had my ups and my downs. In the last months, I’ve done my share of sleeping, a little soul searching and reflecting, long walks in the woods. In those moments, I am thankful for my own village, my community of family and friends who have supported and encouraged me.”

She then recalled comforting words from one of her mentees. “‘It’s OK to be OK sometimes.’ Everybody gets knocked down. What matters is that you get back up and keep going,” she continued. “Practice the discipline of gratitude. It is easy to be grateful when things are going our way. But to exercise the mental discipline to be grateful in the face of setbacks, I have found, is one of the great experiences that give you that resilience and opportunity to see your life, to see your community in the world much more broadly, and to keep going. The inner strength, even the stubbornness, to keep showing up every day, to refuse to quit or give up in the face of any setback.”

Clinton therefore advised attendees to stay steadfast in their endeavors. “Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back, particular when it comes to advancing the rights, opportunities and full participation of women and girls. It can seem discouraging, whether you’ve been on that road for a long time or are just starting out. But think how different the world would be if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged, but because of that, had given up.”

After praising the Women's March, Clinton also repeatedly called for the protection and encouragement of young women against bullying, naysayers and limits in any field.

“Our work is far from over — in big ways and small, the unfinished business of the 21st century is the full equality of women,” she said to applause. “There are still too few women in the upper reaches of the private sector, academia, science, technology and, not to mention, politics and government. And we’ve all heard the saying, haven’t we? ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ So each of us should take it upon ourselves to do all we can to help more girls and young women see themselves at the highest reaches of every field, and we do more to shine a light on women who have contributed to our country, but whose stories have gone untold. The movie Hidden Figures is a great place to start.”

Before leaving the podium to another standing ovation, Clinton said, “We have to keep fighting. We have to remain stubborn. We have to look for ways to mentor and support. And we have to understand that despite setbacks and stumbles on our long march to full equality, everywhere I look, there are signs of hope.”

The annual luncheon, which was hosted by ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas and raised more than $1.2 million for Girls Inc., also honored angel investor Lisa Blau, Benefit Cosmetics' Annie and Maggie Ford Danielson, journalist and activist Shaun Robinson, Starwood Capital Group chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht, and Lockheed Martin Rotary and Missions Systems' Lockheed Martin.