Clinton: 'It's not smart' to hold back women

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton charged that women are still not treated equal to men in the U.S., saying all that's needed "is a fair shot" to advance.

Speaking to the United Methodist Women Assembly on Saturday, the former first lady addressed a packed auditorium of Methodist women, chronicling her journey within the church and her faith before turning her experiences into an impassioned speech on women's rights to equal pay. 

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"Women share the drive to be entrepreneurs and builders," Clinton said to the assembly in Louisville, Ky. "To be agents of change and drivers of progress, makers of peace. All they need is a fair shot."

She added: "But too many women in too many places still face ceilings that hold back their ambitions and aspirations that make it harder to pursue their dreams and potential and that's not only somewhere far away it's here at home."

Women hold a majority of lower wage jobs, many of which rely on tips, Clinton, a favored 2016 presidential candidate said, driving home the point that "today it's still not equal."

She went on to charge that holding back women is "not smart," instead it hurts a country's ability to thrive.

"No country can truly thrive by denying contributions of any of its people let alone half of its people, Clinton said to applause.

Touting her credentials, the lifelong Methodist added that during her time as secretary of State she needed to find convincing arguments that world leaders, or ones at home, "could respond to."

"I found it was easy to make that case," she said through a smirk. "Because when women are denied full participation they are denied the opportunity to contribute fully to the economies of their country."

Her solution: Raise the minimum wage, give parents flexibility on the job, paid family leave, quality affordable childcare, and STEM eduction and mentoring.

Clinton ended the speech with a plea to her audience that they go out and help "wake up our country" and world about the work women can accomplish.