(CNN) - The latest in a series of high-profile honors and speeches, Hillary Clinton said America must set an example on the global stage with women at the forefront of conflict negotiations and in leadership roles.
"Too many women around the world still face ceilings that hold them back from participating fully in every aspect of life, which, in turn, holds back entire societies," the former secretary of state said at an event in Washington on Thursday. "And the great unfinished business of the 21st century is helping women and girls break through those ceilings, once and for all."
"Over and over, in country after country, women have proven themselves a powerful source for peace, even in places where their political power is slight or nonexistent," she said. "They're often the ones who are saying 'to end conflict we need to think about jobs and housing and schools and policing' - all the things we know to be critical to any stable society."
Clinton pointed to women’s' involvement in instances of crucial crisis management throughout history - from protecting civil rights in post-apartheid South Africa to working across ethnic lines to help survivors of the Rwandan genocide.
Clinton was honored for her work in global security and promoting American interests abroad at the event hosted by the National Defense University Foundation. She is widely considered a front-runner for a potential presidential bid in 2016, with outside political group already forming dedicated to electing the former first lady and senator to the Oval office.
Clinton will join Secretary of State John Kerry and former first lady Laura Bush for an event at Georgetown University on Friday focused on sustaining progress for women in Afghanistan after American troops withdraw next year.
"We cannot afford to stand by silently while the hard-won gains of the past decade are squandered and the United States must stand firmly for the rights of all afghans, women, first and foremost," she said.