Helen Clark talks equality, women and power in new book

  • 12/09/2018

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark can now add "author" to her long list of accolades, following the release of her book Women, Equality, Power.

With a foreword by the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, the book contains a collection of speeches she has made over her career.

Speaking with The Project, Ms Clark offered special advice to young Kiwi girls partaking in speeches themselves.

"Believe in yourself; back yourself - I think that's always the advice."

Ms Clark says she has always focused on the empowerment of women and continues to do so. She says while we have come far with equality, we still have progress to make.

"We've still got the pay gap, the 9.2 percent gender pay gap, and I have been commenting on the dreadful domestic and family violence in this country. But we can get on top of these problems. We got on top of a lot of other problems."

Talking politics, she says it's not for the fainthearted.

"It's not an excuse for some of the truly nasty behaviour, but when you step into the ring you've got to be prepare for just about anything to come at you."

She says her favourite speeches from the book were her maiden speech and the speech she gave in Manila this year about breaking glass ceilings.

Ms Clark became Aotearoa's first elected female Prime Minister in 1999, after 18 years of cut-and-thrust in the corridors of power. She navigated the country through nine years of often precarious global politics, supporting the US in chasing down the 9/11 terrorists but refusing to take New Zealand into the fog of the ill-fated invasion of Iraq.

In 2013, while head of the United Nations Development Programme, Forbes magazine placed her among the most powerful women in the world.