Stories from the UN Archive: Hillary Clinton’s bold stand in Beijing


“Women’s rights are human rights” has echoed throughout the UN Commission on the Status of Women for decades, including at its current session that runs from 11 to 22 March at UN Headquarters.

This #ThrowbackThursday, we go back to 1995, when then US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton got an ovation at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Ms. Clinton’s speech on 5 September 1995 was watched by attendees representing 189 countries and many more around the world.

“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all,” she declared, after which those in the conference room gave her a thunderous applause.

That sentiment – “women’s rights are human rights” – had never been voiced so prominently to a global audience and was immediately embraced as an international rallying cry for gender equality.

Using material from the UN archive, this production explores the historic Beijing conference as captured by UN media coverage.

Watch Ms. Clinton’s speech and more here.

Catch up on episodes from UN Video’s Stories from the UN Archive playlist here, showcasing epic moments across the UN’s past, cultivated from the UN Audiovisual Library’s 49,400 hours of video and 18,000 hours of audio recordings, and read our accompanying series here. Join us next Thursday for another dive into history.

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