"Grow skin like a rhinoceros," Clinton, 66, told students at New York University, Politico reported Thursday.
Addressing a packed auditorium attending an event for her family foundation's "No Ceiling" project, she challenged women policymakers "to learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally."
To do that, Clinton added, "you have to be willing to hear what others who are your critics are saying and to evaluate where they are coming from."
"We're still developing what are acceptable styles of leadership for women," said Clinton, whose appearance marked the start of a partnership between the Clinton family foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
She and Melinda Gates urged men to promote the same self-confidence in their daughters as they do for their sons. Clinton said girls tend to lose confidence in their abilities around middle school.