Budget Blog

This past Tuesday, Secretary Hillary Clinton spoke at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, in Canada. You can read some of the coverage of her speech here. In addition to foreign policy, Secretary Clinton also weighed in on the recent Murray-Ryan budget deal and the role of women leaders in politics.

Here is a transcript of the part of the discussion where that came up, lightly edited for length. You can watch it at 38:22 in the video here.

Sophie Brochu (Interviewer): You said in your remarks that when women participate in politics and government, there is a ripple effect out across the society and it goes to the political agenda that you just spoke about. Outside the political agenda itself, as more women hopefully as you wish to, and we all wish to, get into the elected offices in the United States. As more women get elected, will the way of doing politics itself change? Will the business of politics be different in your country 20 years from now.

Secretary Clinton: That’s a great question, and I am sure I could pose it here to you in Canada, although I know that five of your ten provincial premiers are women, so you are ahead of us in the percentage of women represented at high levels.  Here is what I would say to that Sophie. I believe it would have a difference. I believe it would have two differences, there is evidence that inclusivity, that not only breaks down gender barriers, but all barriers, that brings people into decision-making roles, is working in those corporations that choose to do that….

….I think that there is evidence that having women in those positions makes a difference. In politics, I’ll give you another quick story from the United States.

You know, we’ve gone through these two near death experiences about raising the debt limit and shutting down our government. And it’s very distressing for most of us to see this kind of brinksmanship. And I know that the Canadian Finance Minister at one point a couple of years ago said ‘you know, look, we can’t live with this kind of unpredictability, that’s not good for anybody.’

So in the last go-around last fall, the government shutdown was pushed back so that a budget could be presented. And the two people responsible for doing the budget were Patty Murray, a woman senator from Washington, and Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin. I am convinced that Patty’s relationship-building with Paul Ryan laid the foundation for the budget. You know, it wasn’t like ‘OK, come on Paul, you bring your aides, I’ll bring mine, we’ll meet at high noon and we’ll shoot it out.’ It was ‘let’s sit down the two of us. Let’s have breakfast. Tell me about what you think and feel and what you want, and I’ll tell you what I want.’  So they started seeing each other as human beings, not as partisans. They began to realize that in any legislative body you have to compromise. Compromise is not a dirty word. And you have to make hard choices. And Patty just lives that.

So Sophie, I believe that there can be and hopefully will be differences by having more women in these positions. Of course it depends upon who the women are, but on certain cross-cutting issues, and certain ways of interacting, I think that’s pretty broadly based, based on women’s experiences.