Hillary Clinton advises young women on dealing with haters

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joins Melinda Gates in a discussion at New York University and moderated by Chelsea Clinton concerning the use of data to advance the global progress for women and girls on February 13, 2014 in New York City.
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

No stranger to criticism, Hillary Clinton offered a bit of advice Wednesday to young women eyeing a future in politics on how to deal with the slings and arrows that will inevitably come their way: Don’t let it get to you.

“It’s important to learn how to take criticism seriously, but not personally,” the former secretary of state said at an event at New York University sponsored by the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” initiative, according to the Guardian. “Critics can be your best friends if you listen to them, and learn from them, but don’t get dragged down by them.”

 Clinton, also a former first lady, paraphrased the advice of one of her predecessors in that office, Eleanor Roosevelt, advising young women to “grow skin like a rhinoceros.”

Clinton, who appeared at the forum alongside philanthropist Melinda Gates, fielded questions from daughter Chelsea Clinton, who joined her mother and father, former President Bill Clinton, at their eponymous foundation last year.

Much of the discussion was focused on the elevation of women and girls into public life, a cause that has defined much of Clinton’s own work as a first lady, senator, and diplomat.

Clinton fretted about the self-doubt she has seen in upwardly mobile young women, observing that young men are rarely so quick to second-guess themselves.

“I have employed by this time a lot of very talented young men and young women. And offering a promotion or expanded responsibilities to a young woman almost always provokes a response something like ‘Oh I don’t know if I can do that’ or ‘Are you sure I could do that’ or ‘I’m not positive I could take that on,’” she said. “I have never heard that from a young man.”

Clinton, who is eyeing a presidential run in 2016 but has not yet decided to pull the trigger, is the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination if she runs, according to recent polls, and she would enter the general election in a position of strength against all of her potential Republican rivals.