Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stressed the need for inclusion of women in the workplace speaking in front of thousands of professional women at a conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
“We know from decades of data that encouraging women’s full participation is both right and smart,” Clinton said at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. “Companies with more women in upper management do achieve higher profits.”
Clinton was the keynote speaker of the 28th annual conference of the Professional BusinessWomen of California. Her focus on the inclusion of women in the workplace constituted an implicit critique of the tech industry, which has struggled to achieve diversity in its ranks.
In her remarks, Clinton highlighted recent events surrounding Uber, which has been embroiled in a scandal stemming from a scathing account of sexism and harassment at the company by a former engineer.
“It is a cruel irony that stereotypes and bias run rampant even at companies that pride themselves on being forward-thinking,” Clinton said. “More and more women have been sharing stories of their experiences in Silicon Valley. Stories of consistently being asked to take notes in meetings or get the coffee. Of being undermined, interrupted, and criticized in a way that never seems to happen to their male colleagues.”
Clinton pointed out that women hold only a quarter of computer jobs in the U.S., are hired by tech companies at lower rates than men, and are often driven out of the industry at twice the rate as men. Clinton noted that “for women of color, the situation is even worse.”
“Though it may seem like small things, over time they take a toll, don’t they?” Clinton said. “For some women, the hostility is even more direct, like the Uber engineer who spoke out about her experiences with sexual harassment.”
The speech at the PBWC Conference was Clinton’s first major public appearance since her concession to President Trump in November. Throughout the hour-long session, Clinton kept a positive attitude, promised to continue fighting for the equality of women and others, and at times, poked fun at herself.
“I’m thrilled to be out of the woods,” Clinton said, pausing for laughter, “and in the company of so many inspiring women. There’s no place I’d rather be than here with you–other than the White House.”