Pres. Obama fielded a question from a young African woman recently about America’s commitment to gender equality around the world.
The President emphasized his whole-hearted support of gender equality, including condemning gender violence and explaining how gender equality is necessarily part of a holistic approach to economic development.
He ended with a powerful message aimed men throughout the world.
Watch the video below:
Read an excerpt from the transcript:
Q Good morning, Mr. President. I’m from Botswana. I just wanted to find out how committed is the U.S. to assisting Africa in closing gender inequalities, which are contributing to gender-based violence, which it threatens the achievement of many Millennium Development goals, such as access to universal education, eradicating HIV and AIDS.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, listen, you will not find anybody more committed than I am to this issue, and let me tell you why.
First of all, I was mentioning earlier, if you look comparatively at countries around the world, what societies succeed, which ones don’t, one of the single-best measures of whether a country succeeds or not is how it treats its women.
So everything we do, every program that we have — any education program that we have, any health program that we have, any small business or economic development program that we have, we will write into it a gender equality component to it. This is not just going to be some side note. This will be part of everything that we do.
And the last point I’m going to make — in order for this to be successful, all the men here have to be just as committed to empowering women as the women are. That’s important. So don’t think that this is just a job for women, to worry about women’s issues. The men have to worry about it. And if you’re a strong man, you should not feel threatened by strong women.