Tuesday, June 14 marked the very first United State of Women Summit at The White House led by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. As expected, the event attracted some of the most powerful, educated and elegant ladies in the country as they gathered to talk about worldwide women’s equality and other women-related topics.
The Obama Administration continues to remind us exactly what we will miss next year as a new White House Administration takes the reins. This afternoon the President and First Lady hosted a roomful of inspiring women as they commemorated the inaugural United State of Women Summit. Proving that the spirit of #BlackGirlsRock was in full effect, the event drew A-listers such as Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rimes and Kerry Washington. Other high-profile names included Judith Williams, Gloria Steinem and Patricia Arquette.
According to the Huffington Post, President Obama dazzling the crowd as usual with a poignant and funny speech, while the First Lady led the charge for just how effective women can be when they are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
Some of The President’s speech highlights included the introduction, where he joked ““I know you’re really here to see Michelle… or Oprah. I cannot compete with them.”
Focusing on several key points, the President stated:
“I did want to stop by and make one thing very clear,” he said. “I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like. Of course in my household there’s no choice,” he added.
He addressed several issues during his crowd-pleasing speech, including pay equality and gun control on women. He also stressed the need to guarantee paid maternity and paternity leave to all working parents, stating “If we were truly a nation of family values, we wouldn’t put up with the fact that a woman cannot even get a day off to give birth.” President Obama received a hearty laugh from the audience when he remarked that America isn’t just about the Benjamins, it’s about the Tubmans, too.”
Turning more serious at a point in his speech, the President spoke about gender equality and sexism. His passionate plea stated:
“If we are going to truly change our policies and our politics, then we’re also going to have to change something else. We’re going to have to change the way we see ourselves and this is happening already, but I want us to be more intentional about it… The emotional, sexual and psychological stereotyping of females begin when the doctor says it’s a girl… and that has consequences for all of us — whether we’re men or women, black, white, straight gay, transgender or otherwise.
He continued with:
The countless ordinary people every day who are bringing us closer to our highest ideas,” he said. “That’s the story we’re going to keep on telling, so our girls see that they, too, are America. Confident and courageous. And in the words of Audre Lorde: ‘Deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
This summit was not only informative and inspiring, but it also opened up the dialogue to the many issues that women in America face. Here is hoping that it continues for years to come regardless of who takes office in 2017.