Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama attended The United State of Women Summit 2018 in Los Angeles. In a 40-minute interview with “Black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross, Mrs. Obama spoke the long road to equality for women and the efforts men in society can make to ensure all are treated equally.
According to an article in The Muse, Harvard graduate shared several hopes she bears for women in the modern age. She wishes :
1. Women would explore how they think about themselves and other women
“If we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men, if we’re still doing that today, if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to what?” she said, posing the question without mentioning Donald Trump by name. “We have to have that conversation with ourselves as women.”
2. Women would shake the table at which they finally have a seat
“I think if we want our daughters to dream bigger than we did, then we have more work to do,” she said. “So many of us have gotten ourselves at the table, but we’re still too grateful to be at the table to really shake it up. And that’s not a criticism, because for so many just getting to the table was so hard, right? So you’re just holding on!”
But “now we have to take some risks for our girls. We have to be willing to lose a little bit of something,” Obama said. “Just holding on to our seat at the table won’t help our girls be all that they could be. I think it’s going to be on us as women, but I think men have an important role in that as well.”
3. Fathers (and Everyone) should match their words with actions
Mrs. Obama said, “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t whisper these magical thoughts in your daughter’s ear about who she can be and what she can do, and then leave and go into a workplace that you either run or manage…The times you turn your head, you look the other way, the times you’re sitting at a table where there are no people of color, no women,” she said.
“If you’re tolerating that, that is the workplace that is going to be waiting for your little girl,” she added. “You told her she could be anything, but then you’re not working to make sure that that can be actualized…things don’t just work out for your precious pea if you’re not making it work for all of us.”
4. Everyone would have hope, start small, and make change
“Thinking of changing your workplace, changing the way the world thinks, that’s big and it gets daunting and then you shrink from that,” Obama said. “So start with what you can control. And that’s you first.”
And then it’s your immediate circle, including your family and friends. “If you practice that courage first, that’s powerful as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “That leads to bigger things. Change starts close to home.”
This article was first published on The Muse.