A familiar face with a new attitude is the impression Hillary Clinton left in most people’s minds after her appearance at the Gender Equality Conference hosted by BI on the International Women’s Day.
The International Women’s Day is a day of celebration for women across the globe. They celebrate the success they have had in the women’s rights movements. Women have been fighting for ages to stand in an equal footing with men, and every year on the 8th of March, they gather to celebrate their progress and talk about the way they have yet to go.
BI celebrated the last Women’s Day with one such gathering, the Gender Equality Conference. The event hosted speakers comprised of business executives, politicians and faculty members of BI alike. But the highlight of the event was its keynote speaker, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former Secretary of State and First Lady, is one of the most influential political characters in recent history, in both American and global politics.
A little after 2 pm, the promised time for the keynote speaker’s entrance, Mrs. Clinton stepped onto the stage and was received by Inge Jan Henjesand. The president of BI welcomed Hillary Clinton to the stage with words of praise and an honorary degree.
After the ceremonial introduction, Eirik Bergesen welcomed the speaker to her seat to start the Q&A. The talk went on for a good 30 minutes over the promised time of one hour. The talk started off strong and relevant to the topic of the day, the progress of the feminist movement. They hit several topics, talking about the virtues of Norway and what the US can learn from Norway, such as paid leave for both parents after childbirth and more. However, towards the end of the talk, the subject got diverted from the topic of the day. The host started diving into the general political environment in the US and repeatedly asking the former presidential candidate of 2016, whether she would be running again in the next election. This little lapse spoiled the end of the talk, which otherwise was excellent, to say the least. The whole talk can be viewed at the BI Facebook page.
Now that she is not part of the administration, she is free to criticise the US government and speak openly.
With the conclusion of Hillary Clinton’s talk, the Gender Equality Conference came to an end. However, Inside24 wanted to hear the students’ opinion on the event and especially on Hillary Clinton. We interviewed several individuals and got a variety of opinions.
Some thought that it was a great event, especially with Hillary Clinton as the keynote speaker and thanked BI for hosting such a grand event to celebrate International Women’s Day. Most students admitted that they saw Hillary in a new light. They felt that she was not burdened by the shackles of political correctness that restrict most politicians’ opinions, at least not to the extent she used to be. One interviewee said, “she was like a gust of fresh air”. And I have to say there is truth to that. Now that she is not part of the administration, she is free to criticise the US government and speak openly.
They argued that she isn’t famous for her feminist activism, but rather her hand in war-efforts and imperialism.
On the other side of the spectrum however, there were some students that thought, inviting Hillary Clinton to the event was just a big marketing stunt. They questioned the amount of money BI spent on hosting her. This is a valid question because according to Business Insider, securing Hillary Clinton for an event costs a six-figure value in USD. Further, some students questioned her qualification for being the keynote speaker for the event. They argued that she isn’t famous for her feminist activism, but rather her hand in war-efforts and imperialism.
This sentiment was also shared by a group of people outside of BI. This group was a bit more outspoken as they protested Hillary Clinton’s arrival, holding a banner with a simple phrase, “Imperialism is not Feminism”. We talked to the protestors to get a better understanding of their demonstration.
They claimed that they were protesting Hillary Clinton’s visit, because of her hand in multiple war-efforts which yielded the death of countless innocent women and children. Hence, they thought, giving her the keynote speaker position on the International Women’s Day quite ironic and served to whitewash her crimes. They saw the day not as one for celebration, but rather one to keep the fight alive.