The SNP first minister caught up with Clinton at the Women in the World summit in New York after calling the former Democratic candidate a “trailblazer”.
Sturgeon, who described Trump’s historic victory as a blow to gender equality last year, went on to claim Clinton’s presidential run was hit by an “air of misogyny”.
The First Minister said: “Observing the race from afar, in many respects I found it quite dispiriting.
“The whole tenor of the campaign seemed quite dispiriting.
Sturgeon heaped praise on Merkel and Clinton at the Women in the World event
“The way Hillary was talked about and treated had an air of misogyny about it that I wanted to believe we had moved on from.
“That race illustrated that we hadn’t moved far enough from that.”
She added: “Hillary has been a trailblazer for women in politics, whatever you think about her politics.
“I find many of her qualities so admirable. She has made it easier for women like me in politics.
Sturgeon described Trump’s historic victory as a blow to gender equality Nicola Sturgeon's most outrageous quotes Mon, March 13, 2017
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“For that, I—and women across the world—owe her a debt of gratitude.”
She went on to point out Angela Merkel as a woman “blazing a trail for the rest of us”.
Sturgeon added: “I admired how she spoke out [against Trump] the day after the US election.
It comes as Barack Obama looks set to visit Nicola Sturgeon's heartland next month when he jets into Scotland for a charity fundraiser
Sturgeon called Clinton and Merkel 'trailblazers'
The pair went on to pose with event moderator Tina Brown
Sturgeon is believed to be vying for a chance to meet with the former President after repeatedly hitting out at the current US Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump.
A Sturgeon spokesperson said: "No meeting is planned as yet but the First Minister hopes to have the opportunity to meet President Obama when he is in Edinburgh.
"It’s fantastic news and I know everybody in Scotland will be really excited to hear President Obama is visiting Edinburgh and really looking forward to what he has to say.
“It’s great for Scotland and great for boosting Scotland’s profile in the world.”