Madeleine Albright writes New Times op-ed to explain provocative 'hell' comment at Hillary event

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright took to The New York Times opinion page this weekend to explain her suggestion at a New Hampshire event for Hillary Clinton that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

That comment — along with feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s suggestion that women supported Bernie Sanders to meet “boys” on the campaign trail — incensed some women who support Clinton’s rival.

Last weekend, Yahoo News’ Hunter Walker reported that many women who showed up for a Sanders campaign rally were insulted at the suggestion that supporting him is anti-feminist.

“Well, I don’t want to think that I have to vote for a woman, being a woman, because there’s a woman running. They have to be who I would look at as … my best choice,” Cokie Giles, a registered nurse from Maine, told Walker.

In her op-ed, Albright acknowledged that her words last weekend were poorly timed and chosen.

“I have spent much of my career as a diplomat. It is an occupation in which words and context matter a great deal,” she wrote. “So one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell.”

However, she added, she still believes women are obligated to help one another.

“In a society where women often feel pressured to tear one another down, our saving grace lies in our willingness to lift one another up,” she wrote.

Last weekend was not the first time Albright has used the “special place in hell” quote. While other women including Taylor Swift have used this phrase, the phrase appears to have originated with Albright. In her op-ed, she said she first used it almost 25 years ago when she was working closely with six other female ambassadors at the UN.

NOW WATCH: A North Korean defector tells us how she escaped and survived

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.