Updated: October 5, 2019 at 12:26 p.m.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and activist Chelsea Clinton spoke about female empowerment in Lisner Auditorium Friday.
The mother-daughter duo discussed feminism, impeachment and their newest book, “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience,” at an event hosted by independent bookstore chain Politics and Prose. The event marked the second installment of the Presidential Distinguished Event Series, an initiative allowing students to hear from high-profile speakers for free that kicked off last March with historian Ron Chernow.
In case you couldn’t score a ticket to the sold-out event, here are some highlights:
Hillary said she and Chelsea started their writing process by identifying “hundreds” of women whose achievements deserved to be cataloged in the book. She said the pair drafted more than 200 essays before determining the final list of women – which includes abolitionist Harriet Tubman, activist Malala Yousafzai and swimmer Diana Nyad.
Hillary said the women they chose demonstrated “determination” and “persistence” by rising to the tough challenges they faced during their lives.
“At the end of the day, we are so grateful for these women and their lives,” Hillary said. “And we wanted them to be seen as whole people – they’re not perfect, they’re not up on a mountain somewhere. They worked hard, they overcame obstacles, they’re gutsy because they’re clear they were following their dream.”
Hillary added that the women in the book include a variety of historical and contemporary figures whose efforts made the lives of others better off.
“There are so many women we admire, but as we were narrowing the list down, we were looking for what it was about that woman’s life – her work, her advocacy, her mission – that affected others,” she said.
Chelsea said the pair struggled to decide who to include because each of the two brought different experiences and points of view to the writing process.
“Some of the whittling down really had to also be a visceral reaction when we thought about not including them,” she said.
Finding women heroes
While writing the book, Chelsea said her mom reflected on the lack of women in leadership roles that she could look toward when she was growing up.
“I don’t think I quite understood the juxtaposition between my mom’s growing up and my growing up with regards to women role models until we really started this effort,” Chelsea said.
Chelsea said she looked up to “visible, dynamic and inspiring” women as a child.
“If they didn’t believe that their energies married to their talents could make a difference, they wouldn’t have persisted,” she said.
At the event, Hillary said she supports Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Pelosi opened the inquiry into Trump after a whistleblower complaint emerged alleging that Trump withheld military aid to pressure Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, on a July 25 phone call.
“I cannot imagine any other president even thinking about this,” Hillary said.
She called impeachment a “rare but necessary” remedy to Trump’s conduct because Trump has to be “held to account.” The July phone call reached a new level of wrongdoing and unconstitutionality because Trump used government resources as a bargaining tool to assist his political campaign, Hillary said.
“Impeachment is the appropriate remedy,” Hillary said. “And it is such a serious assault on our democracy.”
She added that Trump’s conduct matches his status as an “illegitimate” president who was “illegitimately” elected.
“It is crazy unless you’re doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding,” Hillary said.