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The father of two girls, who was raised by a single mother, penned an essay for Glamour magazine, declaring "this is an extraordinary time to be a woman."
"I say that not just as President but also as a feminist."
Listing strides made by women, from gaining the vote to cracking open previously off-bounds careers, Obama said "the most important change may be the toughest of all -- and that’s changing ourselves."
Obama on his daughters; important they know their dad's a feminist so they'll expect that of all men in their lives https://t6wiv8feGEh
He went on to explain that while legislation still has a role in pursuing policies such as equal pay for equal work and maintaining reproductive rights, attitudes around how society perceives women and girls need to change.
“As far as we’ve come, all too often we are still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave,” he said.
“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive…that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs,” he said.
It's Obama's bday and he gave us the gift of a personal essay about feminism. He's officially the kid who donates his bday gifts to charity.
“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…that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers.”
Obama also noted that there is a need to address “a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of colour”, something that has been strongly brought to his attention by his wife Michelle.
“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive…that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”
He again paid tribute to the First Lady by recognising that particularly while their daughters Sasha, 15, and Malia, 18, were young, the responsibilities at home "disproportionately and unfairly" fell on his wife.
"While I helped out [at home], it was usually on my schedule and on my terms," he said.
Obama concluded his powerful essay by stating that feminism in the twenty-first century is “the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free”.
"That’s what 21st century feminism is about: The idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free." —@POTUS https://t6Ou7XEOE3j
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 4, 2016