THE US could learn lessons from Scotland’s female politicians, Chelsea Clinton has claimed.
Ms Clinton, the daughter of Hillary Clinton, who stood against Donald Trump in the last US elections and former president Bill Clinton, said that Scotland’s first Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Tory party leader Ruth Davidson were an inspiration to encourage more young women to run for political office.
However, in an interview with The Scotsman ahead of her appearance this afternoon at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to speak about her children’s book ‘She Persisted Around the World’ - which profiles women who have succeeded in the face of adversity - she ruled out plans to stand as a potential presidential candidate, saying she felt “well represented” by her local female politicians in her hometown of New York.
“It’s something that I hope young women think about,” she said. “I hope that given that the First Minister and the opposition are both women, whether you’ll see more young women running for office here in Scotland. There’s no longer the pressure to imagine what female leadership would look like because you see it.”
Ms Clinton, who is also on the board of the Clinton Foundation, said that Sturgeon’s leadership was “very different” to the Trump presidency.
She said: “I really appreciate how candid the First Minister has been about the challenges of being a woman. I think that is incredibly healthy and incredibly courageous and incredibly powerful. So often the challenge of being a woman, especially the first woman anything, these are challenges that we have historically shied away from and which could be used as leverage against us so I think that is something we could learn from, not just in the United States, but everywhere.
“It shows what strong leadership looks like, including a healthy candour that is very different to the candour that our president engages in. I hope that given that the First Minister and the opposition are both women, if you’ll see more young women running for office here in Scotland. There’s no longer the pressure to imagine what female leadership would look like because you see it.”
However, she said that she did not believe many Americans were aware of Scotland’s female leaders.
She said: “I think there is so much happening in the US that merits such outrage whether it is the forcible separation of children and their families at the border, or the effort to ban transgendered men and women from our military or to prevent people from Muslim countries from entering the United States, that there is so much people are angry – thankfully angry – about that there is probably not a lot of awareness. That is not a comment on Scotland so much as a tragic commentary on what people of my political bent are trying to push back against.”
Ms Clinton insisted that she has no current plans to run for office, but admitted that the question had arisen repeatedly since she was a child, when her father first became governor of Arkansas.
She told The Scotsman: “It’s a real gift that I’ve been asked that question, but for me the answer to that question is no, I have no plans to run for office.”