QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you so much for agreeing to take the time to talk to us today. What makes these amazing women so special to you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, these are among the women I admire most in the world because they have demonstrated through their own personal actions a commitment to women’s rights and human rights, to democracy, to freedom, to a free press, to education, to protecting minorities. I mean, you can go down the list of each of these women, and you can see the major issues that confront us in the world in the 21st century. And each of them is a leader in trying to improve the lives of the people that they try to serve.
QUESTION: How might the Middle East look differently do you think if more women like this were in power?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are looking at women from the Middle East and elsewhere who are working toward making the changes that will respect all people and will give women in the societies there and around the world an equal chance to live up to their own God-given potential. It’s not only the Middle East. It’s in Africa, it’s in Asia, it’s in Latin America, even in parts of my own country, where it still takes courage to break out of old ways of thinking, to change attitudes, to empower people to stand up for themselves. And in particular, women and girls need more support to do that because oftentimes there are cultural barriers, historical, traditional attitudes that prevent girls and women from feeling like they can speak up for themselves.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And the changes that have to happen are not only at the governmental level, but they’re in the family, and they’re inside people’s hearts and heads about whether we value each other as all creation of our Creator. And that’s what we try to do.
QUESTION: Let me bring in Eva. Do you feel that as Western women or as Western governments we are doing enough to support people in the Middle East, particularly in Libya at the moment?
MS. HAALAWEH: In fact, there are changes, especially after Obama’s Administration, (inaudible) in supporting women’s rights and human rights in general. But also, I mean, I’ve been asking for more, especially to support the Palestinian issue because we believe that the Palestinian issue is a human rights issue. The right of (inaudible) is a human rights issue. And we want the political leaders to be more (inaudible) on supporting Palestinians’ rights and to stop all these accusations.
QUESTION: Can I talk to you about what’s happening in Libya, specifically at the moment, obviously, in your role as Secretary of State.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Sure.
QUESTION: Today at Sky News we have pictures of Colonel Qadhafi’s regime firing on its own people, firing on ambulances as they’re going to the hospital with injured people. Obviously, it can’t be allowed to continue. Everyone agrees with that. What more can the U.S. do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s not only the U.S., it’s the international community. And your government, the Government of the UK, and the Government of France are working on a resolution to try to get authority from the United Nations Security Council. Yesterday, the Gulf countries said that they would support a no-fly zone. The Arab League said they would not object to a no-fly zone.
QUESTION: Will you support it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we want to see the international community support it. I think it’s very important --
QUESTION: So you would support it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but I think it’s very important that this not be a U.S.-led effort, because this comes from the people of Libya themselves. This doesn’t come from the outside. This doesn’t come from some Western power or some Gulf country saying this is what you should do, this is how you should live. So --
QUESTION: Of course. But you’ve got the other countries involved.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: In theory, the U.S. would support a no-fly zone?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are going to support the efforts that are being made, because we think that the people of Libya themselves have to be supported. And we know how difficult this struggle is. We’ve called for Colonel Qadhafi to leave. We believe that he has totally given up any legitimacy to power. When a leader turns against his own people, that is the end.
But we know that there’s a long road ahead for being able to try to resolve this. We’d like to see this resolved peacefully. We’d like to see him go peacefully. We would like to see a new government come peacefully. But if that’s not possible, then we’re going to work with the international community. Now, there are countries that do not agree with that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And so at the – and we think it’s important that the United Nations make this decision, not the United States. And so far, the United Nations has not done that.
QUESTION: What about lifting the embargo?
STAFF: Sorry. Sorry to stop you. Your necklace is knocking into your microphone.
QUESTION: Thank you. What about lifting the embargo, the arms embargo, and supporting the rebels? Is that something that might be --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think everything is being looked at, but it is difficult in the midst of this civil conflict that is going on now to even know how you would do that, because right now, it’s not clear what part of the country is actually under rebel control. We know the east is, but how much in the middle, and then we’ve got Qadhafi. So my only point is we are working really hard every day with the international community, and we were very pleased that the Gulf states and the Arab League, which before had not supported any kind of action, have now said that they could so if the United Nations agrees.
QUESTION: Can I ask you about Western women?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, of course.
QUESTION: Talking (inaudible) developing countries. You are a role model for Western women, you have a successful career, you’re an engaged mother. Can women have it all?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think no person can have it all, man or woman. You have to make choices in your life. You have to prioritize. But at different stages of your life, there may be opportunities. When I look back on my life now, I have friends who became mothers when they were 17 or 18, and I have friends who became mothers when they were 40 or 45, because in today’s modern world there is so much more open to women than there used to be.
I have always believed that women’s rights means supporting women in making responsible decisions for themselves and their families. You have all of us sitting around here right now, and each of us have different experiences. We have different backgrounds, but we all believe that we want to see individual women given more rights to take the decisions that they believe are the best, and we want to support that.
QUESTION: Okay. Obviously, we’re tight for time, so forgive me for interrupting. But I just wonder whether young women now will have to struggle as much as we did in order to make their mark. Have we done the hard work for Chelsea’s generation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that we’ve done a lot of the work, but I don’t think the work is ever done. You know that old saying: a woman’s work is never done?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s not only true in the house where it never seems ever to be completed; there’s always a meal to prepare, to clean up after, to dust and take care of the home. It never ends. Well, I think that’s true in the world as well that, as we heard today, there are those who would like to turn the clock back on women. And these women, in their own ways, each of them is standing up against that. Because we don’t yet have universal agreement that women should be educated, that women should have healthcare, that women should work outside the home, that women are equal to men. We don’t have universal agreement on that. So until there is, we have a lot of work to do.
QUESTION: Women like Agnes has to work with people whose politics are very different --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: -- to our own, certainly. How changing is it for you to admire a Republican woman like Sarah Palin, who, while you don’t necessarily agree with her politics, can you accept what she’s choosing?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s very easy for me, because I admire women – and Agnes is a perfect example – who have gone into the political process, in her case, and has been successful. And I don’t have to agree with everything, but I think it’s important you respect those choices, because going into politics is not for everyone. I enjoyed my time in politics. I admire people in my country who have also gone into politics. But I also admire lawyers who stand up for human rights, and I don’t always agree with them. Or I admire journalists who stand up for the free press, and I don’t always agree with them. (Laughter.)
So I think it’s perfectly understandable that, on particulars, we might not always agree. But in general, seeing these women who we honored today, is so heartening for me, because whether it’s my own country or Cameroon or Pakistan or Hungary or Jordan, I know that there are women who get up every day and try to make the world a better place. And I love that, because that’s what I think we’re put on earth to do. Once we take care of our own needs, it’s to help other people.
QUESTION: But sometimes do you not just listen to women that you don’t agree with politically are on TV and you just want to throw something at the TV?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, because – (laughter) – I had to listen to men for years, so I’ve gotten very accustomed to that. No, I mean, I can disagree with someone and still respect them and still exchange greetings and jokes with them.
QUESTION: Okay. I have one last question for you because we’re almost out of time. On a lighter note – as well, ladies, if you’ll allow me – we have a royal wedding coming up.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, you do. I know. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: What advice as a recent mother-of-the-bride would you give to Kate Middleton?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness. Well, I can only tell you that the wedding itself was wonderful, but the preparations – and I’m sure that they’re feeling some of the same – can be stressful because you want it to be the most perfect day in your daughter’s life and you just do everything you can to make it so. But my advice is just enjoy it. Enjoy it because it’s the most extraordinary experience to see your daughter marrying someone who loves her, who wants to take care of her, and you just want to be part of their happiness.
QUESTION: And will you be watching it on TV?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Of course, of course. I love weddings. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, it’s an absolute pleasure. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Glad to see you.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, my pleasure.
QUESTION: Thank you, ladies.