‘It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too’
President Barack Obama has written a 1500-word essay explaining why feminism is so important to him.
The passionate piece was published on Glamour yesterday, to coincide with his 55th birthday. In it, the POTUS explains how having two daughters has helped him understand the importance of gender equality, and led him to identify fully as a feminist.
“Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race – or when they notice that happening to someone else,” he writes. “It's important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it's important that their dad is a feminist, because now that's what they expect of all men.”
The essay also sees Obama share more about his upbringing, and the disproportionate burdens his single mother – as well as his wife Michelle – had to take on as working women. Despite admitting that it’s now, comparatively, an “extraordinary time” to be a woman, he stresses that things still need to change; from the gaping gender pay gap to the ongoing attacks on reproductive rights.
“We need to break through these limitations,” he continues. “We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticises our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”
“We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they're walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.”
Read the full essay on Glamour here.