Woman of the Week: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Natalie Pate

Women make up 51% of the population, 17% of Congress, and 0% of past presidents.


Name: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

Born: October 26, 1947 (age 64) in Chicago, Illinois

Current Office: Secretary of State, United States of America

Political Party: Democratic Party

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Wellesley College; Master of Laws, Yale University


Why she is the Woman of the Week: I know what you’re thinking—what a bold choice, featuring Hillary Clinton in a column about female politicians. But honestly, it would feel wrong not to feature her for the first post of “Real Women, Real Politics.” Not only is Hillary Clinton the Woman of the Week here on Vanderbilt Political Review’s website, she is indisputably the most prominent female politician in the United States. Forbes lists her as the second most powerful woman in the world—trailing only German chancellor Angela Merkel—and the sixteenth most powerful person in the world. As the current Secretary of State, she is fourth in the line to succeed the president. Going into the presidential campaign in 2008, she was the clear frontrunner before being overtaken by Barack Obama. Despite her loss, she won more primaries and delegates than any other female presidential candidate ever. Love her or hate her, she is the most successful female politician in American history and continues to be an inspiration for young women around the globe. Many of her supporters fervently hope that she will make another bid for president in 2016.


Background: Hillary Rodham was raised in a politically conservative household. She was a Republican for much of her early life (she was quite the Goldwater fan). She was also strongly influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and her Methodist youth minister, with whom she met Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago in 1962. These seemingly conflicting influences led her to describe herself as “a mind conservative and a heart liberal.” She left the Republican Party for good in 1968 after attending the Republican National Convention where she did not like what she heard in Richard Nixon’s campaign message. She was president of Wellesley College Government Association and was the first student speaker to ever deliver Wellesley’s commencement address. She went to Yale Law School where she met her future husband and president Bill Clinton, whom she married in 1975. Bill was elected president in November 1992, and she served as First Lady until January 2001. Clinton then ran for Senate in the state of New York, won, and served two terms as a U.S. Senator, during which she ran for president in the 2008 Democratic primaries. After her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination, she was selected to be President Obama’s Secretary of State and assumed that office upon his inauguration in January 2009.


Key Issues: While serving as First Lady, Clinton was appointed by her husband to spearhead his plan for universal health care, which was wildly unpopular with Republicans—they termed it “Hillarycare”—and after much public debate, the initiative failed. While in the Senate, Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq War, a vote that would haunt her 2008 campaign. As Secretary of State, she has been a relentless emissary and diplomat for the U.S. and played a key role in establishing the Obama administration’s policy of “leading from behind.”


Her Latest Headline: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Now free, Aung San Suu Kyi begins a new struggle for democracy in Burma” – The Courier Journal


“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” – Hillary Clinton



[Image Credit: http://www.luxuo.com/celebrities/forbes-most-powerful-women-2012.html]