Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bill and Hillary Clinton marked the 10th anniversary of the former president’s annual Clinton Global Initiative, pointing to female empowerment around the globe as the former secretary of state considers a 2016 presidential campaign.

The Clintons presided over their yearly gathering of world leaders, corporate executives and philanthropists on Monday, drawing attention to the role of women in leadership positions and opportunities for women and girls around the world.

“We cannot grow the global economy if we do not open the doors to women to participate in the economy,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It’s been quite exciting to see a lot of the changes that are going on, but it’s also been somewhat distressing to see how hard change still is, including in my own country.”

The conference theme is called “Reimagining Impact,” a notion that might apply to a future presidential candidate. During a conversation on stage with Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, the former first lady listened intently as the IBM executive spoke of the importance of constantly seeking transformation.

Reimagining impact, Hillary Clinton said at the end of the session, “requires leaders who will reimagine and who will be unafraid to do so and ask themselves, beginning with themselves, hard questions.”

Bill Clinton, in a separate conversation with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, said the rest of the world often views Latin America as a “real macho place” and might be surprised to learn that Bachelet had won a second term while Brazil is led by a female president, Dilma Rousseff.

“When there are no women in a high-level position, people can talk about equal rights but it’s just a speech,” Bachelet said. She said when female leaders excel, “then it’s a model for others.”

Since 2005, the Clintons said their efforts had improved the lives of 430 million people in 180 countries, including giving 44 million children access to a better education. The ex-president, who turned 68 in August, said he was glad to be joined by his wife and daughter Chelsea Clinton in the family foundation’s pursuits.

“One of my ideas is that I want them to do more of the heavy lifting,” he said. “You know, I’m not a young guy anymore.”

Here’s a look at other news from the Clinton Global Initiative:

_ 2014 CAMPAIGN: Delving into politics, Hillary Clinton sent out a fundraising appeal Monday on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, urging activists to help elect House Democrats. Clinton has been stepping up her campaign activity for the party in the weeks before the November elections. Republicans hold a majority in the House and need to pick up six seats to take control of the Senate.

_ SERVICE YEAR: Chelsea Clinton, who is expecting her first child in the coming weeks, announced the creation of Service Year, a four-year effort to encourage young people between the ages of 18 and 28 to take part in a year of service. The initiative, led by the National Service Alliance, the Cisco Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, aims to create 30,000 annual service opportunities by 2017 and 1 million a year by 2023.

_ CLIMATE CHANGE: Mayors Annise Parker of Houston, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Michael Nutter of Philadelphia announced plans for their cities to address climate change. The cities will develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas, adopt a common way of tracking and reporting emissions and promote ways of participating in cap-and-trade programs like California’s system.

Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: