Chelsea Clinton Fights for Women's Rights -- While Pumping in the Bathroom Like the Rest of Us

Chelsea Clinton, Moms Who InspireOver her nearly four-decade life under the intense scrutiny of the international spotlight, Chelsea Clinton has proven to be a remarkably poised lady of substance. But, as a mother, Chelsea has evolved into a fierce advocate for women and working mothers everywhere, picking up the work her own mother started many years ago. And for that, she is one of our #MomsWhoInspire this month.


Chelsea is the mother of Charlotte, now 1, and has another baby on the way, all while juggling her work with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative and helping her mom campaign for president. But what's been most remarkable is that motherhood has become a lens that actually gives us a view into the life of Chelsea, who -- since she was born during her parents' time in the Arkansas governor's mansion -- has been fiercely firewalled from the media.

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Despite Chelsea's incredibly privileged upbringing, she struggles with all the same stuff every other working mom does -- from pumping breast milk to baby separation anxiety -- and that makes her more relatable than ever. Last year, she talked about her struggle heading back to work after her maternity leave with daughter Charlotte.

"I think the one thing that I did find challenging was when I went back to work full-time," she said in an interview with E!. "I was still breastfeeding and I was pumping and I was so committed to insuring I could keep doing that for Charlotte, and balancing those logistics was really hard." She added that she had to get "comfortable with pumping in airport bathrooms and kind of wherever I needed to get it done."

Preach, Chelsea!

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By pointing out that even she -- Chelsea-freaking-Clinton, who works and is on the board of the Clinton charitable organizations -- had to struggle with leaving her baby and finding places to pump, she's making a strong statement about the treatment of all women and mothers. And her voice is a powerful one. You have to believe that in a life lived under media scrutiny, she very much intended to bring that issue up, once again, for public digestion. Moms who work need a place to pump. They need maternity leave. They deserve a little dignity while they're at it.

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Last Mother's Day, Hillary heaped praise on Chelsea for the job she's doing raising Charlotte and talked effusively about how much she loves her granddaughter.

But Chelsea's activism on behalf of women and mothers doesn't begin or end with a quick media availability or campaign video. She's using the formidable force of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to do real work on the issues impacting women and mothers around the world.

Happy Mother's Day to Charlotte's mom, and my wonderful daughter, Chelsea. -H

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

Twenty years ago, Hillary Clinton famously delivered a speech as First Lady at the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing and declared "women's rights are human rights," and called for reforms. Two decades later, Chelsea, along with help from her mom and Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation, released the comprehensive "No Ceilings" report and initiative aimed at continuing to improve the lives of women. How do they think it can be done? By granting women equality under the law, changing social and cultural norms, investing in gender equality programs, and measuring the gains women have made in the 20 years since Hillary's famous speech in that iconic pink suit. The result? We've still got a long way to go.

Fighting for women for decades, and proud of it. #TBT

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

In addition to those areas, Clinton and the No Ceilings initiative identified a top-10 list of priorities that included encouraging women in engineering and science.

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We shouldn't be surprised that the highly educated and competent Chelsea Clinton, who got a doctorate from Oxford in international relations and wrote a book to help kids get involved in changing the world, is following in the footsteps of her mother who was a pretty fierce groundbreaking working mom in her own right. Now Chelsea is paving the way for Charlotte and the rest of our daughters to have even more opportunities than those who Hillary has fought for her entire life.

Couldn't ask for a better right-hand woman on the trail. Happy birthday, Chelsea—I'm so proud of you. -H

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

You have to wonder if one day, maybe 20 years from now, we'll be talking about Chelsea running for office herself and the poised and competent woman Charlotte becomes. Because if there's anything we mothers know above all else, it's that we all stand on the shoulders of all our mothers and grandmothers, and it's our job to do the same for generations to come. 

When recently asked about her growing family and how that might impact her own future ambition to hold office, she didn't seem to indicate she was ready to make the transition from mother and advocate to candidate anytime soon.

"My last name is Clinton. My dad was president. My mom's running for president," she said, responding that she totally gets why everyone asks her that. "But you should be asking yourself this question," Clinton said of thinking about our own legacies. "That's a question every one of us should be asking ourselves."


Image via Derek Storm / Splash News

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