Dream Big, says Chelsea Clinton

“From a very early age I was expected to have an opinion, to be able to make an argument about something I thought was right or wrong,” said Chelsea Clinton. Her parents were proud when teachers said she was a precocious pupil and, as both a writer and mother, she now hopes to encourage young women globally to speak up, rise up, and dream BIG, she said today.

She Persisted became an idea, Clinton said, when Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Senate Republicans while reading a letter by Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King. Senator Mitch McConnell defended Warren’s silencing, and said that “Nevertheless, she persisted” in trying to speak. His comment sparked thousands of responses online, and inspired Clinton to speak out on behalf of women throughout history who have refused to be silenced.

Her first book focused on women from North America including Maria Tallchief and Nellie Bly, and the second, She Persisted Around the World, took a global perspective including J. K. Rowling and Malala Yousafzai.

Clinton said that women are often raised to be polite and apologetic whereas, “We need to realise that we can be both kind and bold”. To do so, she encourages parents and teachers to treat and speak to young boys and girls in the same manner, and to ask girls as often as boys about their ambitions.

With Donald Trump in the White House, Clinton said the last 20 months have taken a lot of persistence. “I don’t think I agree with him on anything,” she said and described his  administration as one of “cruelty and corruption and incompetence”. “We must persist in this moment,” Clinton said. She is frequently asked if she might run for President, and said of course it has crossed her mind, but has no plans to do so in the near future.

Clinton is urging her publisher to develop She Persisted across the globe, and would like authors worldwide to write the next instalments, spotlighting 13 inspirational women from their countries. The chair,  broadcaster Alex Jones, was particularly keen to see a Welsh version of She Persisted developed.

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