Last week, Hillary Clinton formally announced her plans to run for president of the United States. I first entered elected office in 1972 and have been waiting ever since for the opportunity to have a woman in the White House. I am thrilled that Hillary will once again seek to crack the highest, hardest glass ceiling.

Having the opportunity to elect our first woman president represents an important milestone for our country and a significant step toward empowering women at all levels. Without a doubt, Hillary’s experience and vision for the future will mean that women and American families can take huge strides forward.

In her book, “Hard Choices,” Hillary wrote that creating opportunity for women and girls “directly supports everyone’s security and prosperity, and should be part of our diplomacy and development work.” Her words could not be truer, and as secretary of state, Hillary followed through on a lifetime of creating opportunity for women by working to empower women throughout the world, both economically and politically.

By investing in women abroad and here at home, we can work to create more secure communities and greater opportunity and prosperity for women and their families. Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

Women’s empowerment isn’t only about creating opportunity for the future; it is also about enabling women to be able to make their own health decisions, and to live their lives safely and equally, free from abuse or double standards. Women’s issues are also economic issues, and by empowering women we can improve the economy and bring greater prosperity to all.

We have made great strides in the fight for women’s rights and women’s equality. Having a woman candidate who can speak on our behalf, who we know can represent us and who will fight — every step of the way — to make women’s equality a reality would mean a great deal to Americans.

I can’t think of anyone better to represent us than Hillary, who raised women’s issues to new heights. She helped turn over a new page in the fight for women’s rights when she famously declared on the global stage that “women’s rights are human rights.”

We have to work to make America better for future generations of women and for all Americans, always remembering that when women succeed, America succeeds.

Our country needs leaders who represent and support the interests of women. Throughout her career in public service, Hillary has been a champion of women’s equality, opportunity and empowerment. I believe that she is the most qualified person to inspire and lead us into a better future for all Americans.

As Hillary said last year, “We’re going to be about the business of making sure that those ceilings crack for every girl and for every woman around the globe. So let’s get cracking.”

 

Joan Growe was Minnesota secretary of state from 1975 to 1999.