The United States makes it difficult for women who want to work and raise families, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a women's commercial real estate association conference in Miami Beach.
Clinton says she’s been all over the world to talk about equity issues for working women working with her Clinton Global Initative, founded by her husband -- and former U.S. president -- Bill.
Clinton says the U.S. still has a long way to go to make sure women are paid and treated the same on the job as men.
“We make it just about as hard as we can for women to fully participate in the workplace,” she told the members of the CREW Network.
Clinton is considered the leading Democratic contender for the 2016 presidential nomination. She hasn’t yet committed to the race, but women’s issues were a major point of debate during the 2012 campaign between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
Democrats claim Republican policies are a “war on women” for attempting to restrict access to abortion and opposing required insurance coverage of contraceptives. Republicans object to the term and say it’s a myth.
But Clinton says U.S. workplace rules need to change. She says women need more legal protections to take time away from work and to prevent penalties for having children.
“It’s recently come to light how many women face what’s being called the motherhood penalty," she said. "Forced to take a pay cut when they have children, while men who become fathers often get a pay bump."
Clinton encouraged the group to mentor other women. More women in the workforce will lead to a stronger economy.
Clinton also repeated her oft-told story about why she decided in 1999 to run for the U.S. Senate in New York.
She was appearing at a high school, part of promotions for an HBO documentary about women in sports called "Dare To Compete." She was introduced by a member of the school's basketball team, Sofia Totti. Clinton says Totti shook her hand and leaned in.
"Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton," Totti told her. "Dare to compete."
"Nothing that anybody else had said ever affected me like that young woman," Clinton said. "I can't tell you how important it is for women like us... to get out of our own comfort zones. To be willing to fail."