Circumstances

Hillary Clinton delivered her “Women's Rights are Human Rights” speech on 5th of September, 1995, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing.

The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the previous three conferences on the topic were a result of the work of UN women’s rights activists. The legal basis for these conferences was a UN article that included a provision for gender equality. The first UN Conference on Women was organized in 1975.

The theme of United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women was ‘Action for Equality, Development and Peace’ and some of the key speakers at the conference, besides Hillary Clinton, were: Tanzanian activist Gertrude Mongella (mentioned by Clinton in her speech), Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, and Mother Theresa.

The conference ended with the Beijing Declaration supporting women’s empowerment.

The conference was marked by controversy. Firstly, Hillary Clinton was initially advised not to attend because it might suggest support for Communist China. Then, she was advised to change her speech, because ...

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