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​Hillary Clinton calls out gender inequality in Silicon Valley

Speaking at a conference for businesswomen, the former presidential nominee praises the female Uber engineer who spoke out against workplace sexism.

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Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a conference for Businesswomen in San Francisco.

Dara Kerr/CNET

Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been paying attention to the ins and outs of Silicon Valley.

In a rare appearance since the presidential election last fall, Clinton spoke to hundreds of women on Tuesday at the Professional Businesswomen of California conference in San Francisco.

In her speech, she addressed gender discrimination in tech and aligned herself with notable women in the industry who have spoken out against sexism in the workplace.

"There's still a woeful lack of women in the upper reaches of science and technology," Clinton said. "We need to reset the table so women are no longer required to accept and adapt to sexism at work."

Clinton's remarks come on the same day that Uber released its first diversity report showing its workforce, like most other tech companies, is largely white and male. The ride-hailing company has made news in recent months for a relentless barrage of revelations, which have involved everything from the resignation of top execs to allegations of sexual harassment to internal leaks detailing a chaotic companywide culture of sexism.

After former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in January alleging she and other female employees at the company were sexually harassed, company CEO Travis Kalanick apologized and promised to conduct an internal investigation into the matter, supervised by board member Arianna Huffington and former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Clinton praised Fowler in her speech.

"More and more women have been sharing their experiences in Silicon Valley," she said, adding that Fowler's speaking out "spurred the company to publicly address this problem."

Throughout her talk, Clinton stayed with this idea of women calling out discrimination and fighting for equal rights.

"The last few months haven't been exactly what I envisioned, but I do know what I'm fighting for," Clinton said. "Now is the time to demand the progress that we want to see."

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