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By Sara Netzley
March 09, 2021 at 12:17 AM EST
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Women should take strength from their lived experience, both positive and negative, as they make plans for their future.

That's the message Nancy Pelosi delivered to youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman during a virtual Q&A Monday in honor of International Women's Day, Deadline reported.

"When women are thinking about what path they may take, they should feel very confident about who they are," Pelosi told Gorman, who had asked what advice the speaker of the House had for 23-year-olds interested in public service.  

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke at the event, telling Gorman, "You have the ability to express aspirations and give people a voice that they didn't know they had, and good leadership does that."

Gorman captured the world's attention when she read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Joe Biden's inauguration in January. She has said she plans to run for president someday, which Pelosi applauded.

"I believe that the arts are what are going to save our whole society," Pelosi said.

The Q&A was sponsored by Clinton's PAC, Onward Together Committee, and Pelosi's PAC to the Future, which are both dedicated to electing women candidates and other Democrats. About 6,000 people participated in the event, with tickets ranging from $25 to $10,000.

Clinton offered a piece of advice for those in attendance: sometimes it's more effective to deploy humor when faced with aggressive opposition.

"When people say outrageous, ignorant, intolerant, silly things — and sometimes they don't even know the impact of what they are saying and how it lands, how it feels to women who are hearing it — I think you can just kind of look like, 'Really, do you really mean that? I didn't expect to hear that come out of you,'" she said. "You can use some humor to diffuse situations to give people a little bit of space so that they are more conscious of how they came across."

Clinton also mentioned a tactic that women often employ when their comments are overlooked during meetings.

"I really encourage other women to repeat what one woman said," she advised. "You jump in and you say, 'I think that is a really good point that Nancy's making. What do you all think?' You sort of force the attention to the woman who is speaking."

Of course, that doesn't happen as frequently to Pelosi these days.

"It's a lot different when you have a gavel," she said. 

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