A lot of “grown-up male leaders” are scared of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, failed U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Sunday, adding she finds it hard to understand the current state of politics.
Clinton was speaking in London alongside her daughter Chelsea at the launch of their co-authored book – The Book Of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories Of Courage And Resilience.
In it they share the stories of the women who have inspired them, with the 16-year-old Swede among them.
Thunberg was included in the book one year ago when the mother-daughter duo read about her solitary climate strike in front of Swedish parliament.
“We were so moved by it,” Clinton said at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.
Since then, Greta has sailed across the Atlantic and spoken at the U.N. about climate change, both events Clinton claims add to the mystification of male political leaders, repeating a message she delivered in September when she gushed over Thunberg’s emotional speech at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit, calling it “required viewing for every lawmaker.”
Now she has returned to the topic.
“It’s been fascinating to watch how scared a lot of grown up male leaders are of this young 16-year-old girl who speaks up about the threat of climate change,” Clinton said in London. “She is a young women, so the idea that she is standing up and speaking out as effectively as she has just rattles all of the paradigms that people still live with.”
Clinton pointed to what she called, “ancient DNA imprinting” that determines “‘This is what women are supposed to do and this is what they are supposed to look like’ and you are not supposed to be so pushy and aggressive … it is maddening how much that still operates.”
Elsewhere in the discussion, Clinton said she had “always admired Britain”even if the current state of politics confuses her.
She added: “I am, as a great admirer, concerned because I can’t make sense of what is happening.” she also said she found the same bafflement with U.S. politics.
“In my own country as well. I don’t understand it…. It’s hard to figure out exactly where you’re headed.”
As for her own political heroes, Clinton said former U.S. President Barack Obama is a role model for modern men.
“I think Barack Obama was a very gutsy person but who worked so, so hard not to let it show,” she said.
“He knew the undercurrents that were working against him and he’s been a great defender of women’s rights and opportunities.”