President Obama may be leaving The White House, but he isn’t done charging the country with more work to do. In a essay published on Glamour.com, POTUS talks and explains the significant strides that have been made since he took office.
“So we shouldn’t downplay how far we’ve come. That would do a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice. At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world.”
President Obama continues with citing Shirley Chisholm as one of his heroines and commenting that gender stereotypes affect not only the people they are assigned to, but everyone. Speaking of The First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her tireless work to create balance, he also reflects that while her decisions to work and be a mother would come under scrutiny, his never would. He commented that he was raised and surrounded by strong women, due to the absence of his own father.
“So I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty aware of the unique challenges women face—it’s what has shaped my own feminism. But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.”
He calls out several issues that have plagued our ideology concerning gender since the beginning of time, like raising girls to be demure and young men for being assertive. President Obama also touches on the harsh spotlight that is put on not only women, but women of color as well.
Obama also calls out men and their role in this fight.
“It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.”
POTUS ended this powerful essay with the sentiment that “It’s never been just about the Benjamins, but the Tubmans too.” You can read the full essay here.