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Hillary Clinton's Message To Little Girls In Her Concession Speech Said It All

When she publicly conceded the presidential election Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton had a special message for little girls that underlined the values she has espoused throughout her career as a public servant and repeatedly throughout her campaign for the oval office. After addressing her campaign staff and the women, especially young women, who supported her in her bid for the presidency, she spoke directly to her youngest supporters, the girls around the country who have attended her rallies and on Tuesday accompanied their parents to vote for her. For them, she had this message:

It wasn't a new sentiment from Clinton. This is the person who declared in a 1995 speech in Beijing, "Women's rights are human rights" and throughout her campaign made efforts to speak to girls about body image and their experiences of bullying. Those interactions were of course in part strategic — it behooved Clinton to highlight Donald Trump's egregious comments about women's bodies and frequent bullying of those who criticize or oppose him — but her interactions with the littlest women she encountered, her way of speaking to them on their level without condescending, also seemed wise and authentic.

So it's not surprising that Clinton used this speech, perhaps her final on the political stage, to address her youngest supporters. Clinton seemed aware that her loss in Tuesday's election threatened a narrative that had naturally developed around Clinton's potential win: If she can win the highest office in the land, why can't I? Speaking to women, she said, "I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will."

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives to speak during a rally about national service at the Sunrise Theatre September 30, 2016 in Fort Pierce, Florida. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Clinton's parting message to young girls, specifically when she said, slowly, "You are valuable and powerful and deserving" drove home an idea that Clinton has dedicated so much effort to realizing over the course of her career, from her work advocating for children with disabilities for the Children's Defense Fund in 1973 to a leaked email in which she asked her staff if there was any way to bring Yemeni child bride Noori Ali to the U.S. for "counseling and education."

Clinton didn't succeed in clinching the presidency Tuesday, so girls will have to wait a little longer for living, visible proof that any job — even the job — is available to them, but in Clinton's speech they saw the example of someone entirely qualified to do that job, and someone strong enough to let it go when it wasn't rightfully hers. Doesn't get much more presidential than that.

GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images
Lillian Black, 13, of Sonoma, holds up a handmade sign in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she waits in line to watch her speak in Oakland, California, on May 6, 2016. / AFP / GABRIELLE LURIE (Photo credit should read GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images)