Girl Power hits the White House

March 11, 2009

President Barack Obama, who is surrounded by women at home – wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia — on Wednesday declared Girl Power a priority for the federal government.

In creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, which will include members of his Cabinet, Obama said he wanted to make sure that women and girls were treated fairly in all matters of public policy.

“We have many of those Cabinet members here. Some of the men showed up — we put them in the second row,” Obama said to laughter at an event to sign the executive order creating the council.


“I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, a grandson, a husband, and a father, because growing up, I saw my mother put herself through school and follow her passion for helping others,” he said.

“But I also saw how she struggled to raise me and my sister on her own, worrying about how she’d pay the bills and educate herself and provide for us.”

The president said the first lady was “the rock of the Obama family” in juggling work and parenting.

“But I also saw how it tore at her at times, how sometimes when she was with the girls she was worrying about work, and when she was at work she was worrying about the girls.  It’s a feeling that I share every day,” Obama said.

In so many ways, the stories of the women in my life reflect the broader story of women in this country — a story of both unyielding progress and also untapped potential.”

He also gave a nod to the woman he beat for the Democratic nomination for president, Hillary Clinton, who is now his Secretary of State, and to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama follows his family off Marine One)






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