WASHINGTON — In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton wants to make history as the first female president of the United States. But just as the election of the first black president hasn’t left black people better off eight years later, can the world’s women really count on Clinton’s support?
Voters understandably look to Clinton to support women’s rights in the U.S. at a time when many feel these rights are under attack, and she’s been happy to deliver feminist-friendly rhetoric. In April, she offered a rousing pro-woman speech at the Women in the World conference in April. New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer reported:
“[Clinton] said it was ‘unthinkable’ that mothers in the United States weren’t entitled to paid leave, that child-care benefits were nearly nonexistent, and that women and men alike are forced to work inflexible hours that make being a parent impossible. She mentioned a path for citizenship for immigrants, and last week’s strike for a living wage for fast-food workers. She slammed Hobby Lobby for not paying for its employees’ contraception, and Senate Republicans for delaying Loretta Lynch’s ascendancy to the top of the Justice Department.”
Yet a study of Clinton’s record paints a different picture. Donors from Saudi Arabia gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit operated by Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, despite Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on women’s rights. In return for their financial support, Hillary Clinton helped Saudi Arabia obtain billions in military equipment from the U.S.
In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to hold political office or drive cars, and four princesses from the royal family were imprisoned and tortured for speaking out in favor of equality. Saudi forces have also been instrumental in suppressing the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain, where female leaders of the movement like Maryam al-Khawaja face imprisonment or exile.
As secretary of state, Clinton supported U.S. military intervention throughout Africa and the Middle East, from aiding the Israeli oppression of Palestinian civilians to supporting the violent destabilization of Libya. According to a 2014 report from Whatever It Takes, a blog that tracks the candidate’s human rights record, the latter hurt women’s rights not just in Libya but throughout the region:
“Clinton planned and pushed for the illegal Obama war to support Al Qaeda factions against Libya, which is now a failed state ruled by jihadist militias who kill unarmed protesters. The support, including weapons, given to Al Qaeda by the USA spilled over into empowering other Al Qaeda linked terrorist groups, including Boko Haram, which … kidnapped hundreds of young women.”
Even domestically, a look at some of her top donors suggests Clinton favors the rights of Wall Street over that of American women. During her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton’s top donors included finance and investment industry giants like JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Citigroup — some of the same corporations that caused a massive global financial crash in 2007 that led to an unprecedented wave of job losses and home evictions. Women and children suffered most from the poor economy, according to a 2013 article from Mercedes White, a reporter for Deseret News:
“Eviction is a problem that disproportionately affects America’s poor, especially poor women with children. It is so common in urban poor neighborhoods that in some ways it has become part of the texture of life. In an analysis of eviction in Milwaukee, Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond found that minority women with low incomes are disproportionately impacted: Black women account for 13 percent of Milwaukee’s population but make up 40 percent of those evicted.”
Voters may find it instructive to consider whether black people are better off after the U.S. elected its first black president. The opposite is true, according to Dr. Reginald Clark, writing for Black Agenda Report.
“Black misery has been growing since 2009 under President Obama’s economic and job creation policies. Black folks participation in the labor market has been steadily moving DOWNWARD during the Obama presidency – since 2009 when he was first inaugurated,” Clark commented in 2013.
Despite her uplifting rhetoric, based on her record it seems American women can’t expect any better treatment under another Clinton presidency.