Barack Obama has been inspirational for more reason than one. And in this interview, the former US President, who has been vocal about the need for gender equality, stresses on the point with eloquence.
“From the government’s perspective, the best indicator of whether the country is developed or not is how it educated the girls and how it treated women. Typically those countries that do a bad job on that are backwards and behind economically. And it makes sense because by the way, and it should not be necessarily the case, women are still doing most of the child-rearing. So, if you are not teaching a woman to read, it is most likely that the child too will not learn to read. And, if you have an educated mother, those children will be educated,” Obama said when asked to comment on the issue of gender equality.
He also spoke about his time at the White House when during meetings his women staff would not speak. It was always the men who were more eager. He said he had to prod and when they spoke, he admitted, they were more insightful. “Sometimes a woman would make a point and ten minutes back a guy would make the same point.”
He harped on the need for women to be more assertive and overcome the social conditioning. “Make room for yourself,” he advises. He also had a word of caution for men, asking them to be mindful and if there are no women in the organisation, then it is a problem and they being part of it should also look for a solution.
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