President Obama Starts Campaign Tour For Gender Equality In America

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Yes he can and yes he did! Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States just embarked on a new tour, campaigning for an issue that is very close to our hearts and many of our female readers. He wants to see the gender wage gap gone forever from the workplace, and also wants women to have better representation on a number of issues including healthcare and maternity leave.

President Obama kicked off the nationwide tour at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida (full video below) where he gave a rousing speech about increasing wages for women across the board. During the next couple of months he will also visit Denver, Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

In addition, the Small Business Administration and the National Women’s Business Council is hosting a roundtable called STEM for Her in Washington next week with business leaders, academics and other stakeholders to discuss what can be done to encourage more women to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and math — fields where women have been unrepresented in the past.

Obama is hoping to push congress to create legislation and concrete plans to even the chances for women to earn just as much as men in the workforce for doing the same jobs. He is urging them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that would make it illegal for employers to pay men and women differently.

He says women should get equal pay for equal work and says they should be able to have a baby without fear of losing a job. In his words, “This isn’t 1958 — it’s 2014.”

“As part of making sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American, I’m also coming here today to make sure our economy rewards the hard work of women,” said Obama.

“I want to make sure my daughters are getting the same chances as men,” said Obama. “I don’t want them paid less for doing the same job as some guy’s doing.”

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The president says Congress should get rid of policies that, in his words, “belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.”

Interestingly, he points out that women are a minority in Congress and says that more would get done if, “you kind of evened that out a little bit.”

“A woman deserves to take a day off to care for a sick child or parent without running into hardship,” Obama said. “When women make less, it hurts their families.”

“I’ve got a personal stake in seeing women get ahead,” Obama said from Valencia College. “First of all, women make up 80 percent of my household, if you count my mother-in-law, and I always count my mother-in-law.” He also noted he was raised by a single mother, with the support of a grandmother who he said hit a ‘glass ceiling’ at the bank where she trained men to become her boss, even though she knew a lot more than they did.

He goes on to point out the struggles he has seen his own wife face being a working mother and how she managed to balance that out during the years his two daughters were young. His acknowledgement of the hardship women go through is refreshing to see, from the leader of the country.

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“Women make up half of our work force, 56% of Valencia students are women. In fact for over two decades women have earned over half of the higher education degrees awarded in this country. So that means soon, for the first time, America’s highly educated workforce will be made up of more women than men. But the thing is, our economy hasn’t caught up to that reality yet,” he said.

We are so stoked to see Mr. President take up action in his last couple of years in office championing the cause of women in the workplace. While some critics are quick to point out that the gender gap exists because of certain industry career choices, the fact remains that there is no valid reason for women to earn less than a man.

There has never been a more exciting time for women at the forefront of American politics than now. And if the rumors are true, and Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, then we are going to see drastic advancements of women in Washington D.C. Thank you President Obama, albeit at the end of your term, for championing an important cause to make this country a better place for your daughters, and the next generation of women.

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