The world has "a lot more work to do," the former first lady said at a virtual commemoration of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, where the phrase "women's rights are human rights" was coined.
"Am I discouraged? No. I'm disappointed that we haven't gone even farther in 25 years," she said.
"Women have not really either advanced in business or economic terms or their advancement has hit a ceiling."
She spoke as a report by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton and others marking the anniversary was released.
It called for women to be named to leadership roles in government and business in order to achieve equity.
Clinton, who served as US Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, also warned that progress on gender equity was at risk due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Governments should be paying close attention to how to create more support for working people in general, but in particular women who are either sole support or contributing support to their families and children," she said.
"They had nothing to do with creating this virus, but they are left holding the bag of burden."
The pandemic could wipe out the "modest progress" made on gender equality at work in recent decades, with women globally at greater risk of losing their jobs, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned in June.
Women have been disproportionately affected, the ILO said, with almost 510 million women, or 40% of employed women, working in the industries with most job losses compared with less than 37% of men.
Those industries include food services, accommodation, retail and real estate.
The ILO added that the unequal distribution of unpaid care work worsened during the pandemic, exacerbated by the closure of schools and child care services.
Clinton was the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, when Republican Donald Trump was elected. - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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