- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday made a pitch to increase data-driven research and solutions to improve the lives of women and girls around the world, saying good decisions in government, business and life are based on evidence rather than ideology or gut feelings.

Mrs. Clinton, a likely Democratic presidential contender, stuck to mostly familiar ground in promoting women’s rights as she preps for another possible run at the White House.

Speaking at an event in New York City to highlight a 2012 partnership she launched to fill such “gender data gaps,” Mrs. Clinton said she was tired of seeing people “smile and nod” when she broached issues concerning women and girls.

“I wanted to comb through all the data that had been collected by our own government, by institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, to build a case strong enough to convince the skeptics, based on hard data and clear-eyed analysis, that creating opportunities for women and girls across the globe directly supports everyone’s security and prosperity, and therefore should be an enduring part of our diplomacy and development work,” she said.

She said not enough is being measured in the lives of women and girls around the world, including births, the work of women outside the “formal economy,” and the participation of women in decision-making processes.

“After all, good decisions in government, in business, in life are based on evidence, rather than ideology or gut feelings, or anecdotes,” she said. “And that is especially true … when it comes to policies that will affect millions of people. You have to do the research, you have to run the numbers. That’s how we minimize risk and maximize impact.”

She said that as the country’s chief diplomat, she launched a number of initiatives to close gaps, and in 2012 launched the “Data2X” partnership calling for the collection and analysis of such data.

“There are so many data gaps that undermine progress, not just for women and girls, but for entire societies,” she said.

The remarks came as Mrs. Clinton ponders whether or not to make a second run at the White House. Her failed 2008 campaign shied away from highlighting her gender or the prospect of her becoming the first-ever female president of the United States.

But she gave a nod to those issues during her concession speech for the Democratic nomination to then-Sen. Obama, saying that while she was not able to crack the “highest, hardest glass ceiling,” it had “18 million cracks in it” thanks to her supporters. And in her time since, she has made women’s rights a key focus of her work at the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.

In a speech earlier this month at Georgetown University, she said women should play larger roles in military decisions and conflict resolution around the globe.

A day later, at a women’s conference in Boston, she spoke about the need for paid leave and early childhood care.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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