There's a lot that's been done by and for women and girls, but there's still plenty to do.....
Convened by the White House, the United State of Women Summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we've achieved, and how we're going to take action moving forward. Covering key gender equality issues, we'll make a powerful difference in our collective future. (The White House)
The nine important things Michelle Obama and Oprah discussed
Here are nine noteworthy moments from their chat.
1. Obama introduced a new word into the lexicon of first ladies.
“He’s got the swag,” Winfrey noted of the commander in chief. “Did he always have that swag? Or has he gotten swaggier?”
“No, he was very swagalicious,” Obama replied. “Look, I told people this from the very start, when I started running, Barack Obama is exactly who he says he is. We both are. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people. Ain’t no surprises.”
2. Obama purposely didn’t read other first ladies’ books before settling in the East Wing.
“People asked all throughout the campaign: ‘What are your issues going to be? What are you going to be like as first lady?” And I said I have to wait until I get there to figure out what that’s going to feel like for me. I specifically did not read other first ladies’ books because I didn’t want to be influenced by how they defined the role. I knew that I would have to find this role very uniquely and specifically to me and who I was.”
3. Obama says a woman’s first job in life is to know herself.
“And I think as women and young girls, we have to invest that time in getting to understand who we are and liking who we are. Because I like me. I’ve liked me for a very long time. So for a long time, I’ve had a very good relationship with myself.”
4. The moment that still moves the first lady to tears.
“So you remember Malia and Sasha were little itty-bitties when we came into office. I mean, it still moves me to tears to think about the first day I put them in the car with their Secret Service agents to go to their first day of school. And I saw them leaving, and I thought, ‘What on earth am I doing to these babies?’
“So I knew right then and there my first job was to make sure they were going to be whole and normal and cared for in the midst of all this craziness. And then I started to understand that if I was going to protect them, I had to, number one, protect myself and protect my time.”
5. Winfrey and Obama speak on men and time.
Winfrey: “I never, in all my years of interviewing, have ever heard a man say: ‘You know, I just don’t have the time. I just don’t; I don’t find a way to balance.'”
Obama: “You know why? Because they don’t have to balance anything. Sorry. And I hope that that is changing, but so many men don’t have to do it all.”
6. How does Obama deal with her haters?
“When it comes to social media — there are just times I turn off the world, you know. There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you’ve got to set those phones down. You can’t be reading all that stuff. I mean, that’s like letting somebody just walk up and slap you, you know? You would never do that. You would never just sit there and go, ‘Slap me in the face, and I’m good with it.’ No. So why would you open yourself up to that? . . .
“The other thing that I have found, particularly in this job, that it’s people won’t remember what other people say about you, but they will remember what you do. . . So when it came to this role, I just said: ‘You know, let me just be first lady. Let me wake up every day and work hard to do something of value, and to do it well, and to do something consequential, and to do something that I care about. And then let that speak for itself.’ And that would shut up the haters, because I would have a whole portfolio of stuff that defined me because it’s what I did, not what you called me. So the best revenge is success and good work.”
7. What does Winfrey most want to do with the first lady after she leaves the White House?
Go shopping. (She mentioned it three times.)
8. What have been the first lady’s top mmm-mmm-mmm moments in the White House?
“Prince and Stevie Wonder singing in the East Room, just — may he rest in peace. I mean, those rare gifts of entertainment, the kind of music we have been able to bring into the White House. Sitting with the pope, watching my mother and my daughters talk to the pope. That’s like a — mmm, mmm, mmm . . .
“Good lord, watching my husband walk off of Marine One and go to the Oval Office, it’s like, mmm, mmm, mmm.”
9. What Obama wants men to do to help women.
“Be better. Be better at everything. Be better fathers. Good lord, just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world, showing them what it feels like to be loved. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me. And we’ve talked about this, the fact that I never experienced abuse at the hands of any man in my life. And that’s sad to say that that’s a rare reality. So men can be better at that.
“Men can be better husbands, which is be a part of your family’s life. Do the dishes. Don’t ‘babysit’ your children. You don’t ‘babysit’ your own children. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Being a father, being engaged, all that stuff is important. Be a better employer. When you are sitting at a seat of power at a table of any kind and you look around you and just see you, it’s just you and a bunch of men around a table, on a golf course, making deals, and you allow that to happen, and you’re okay with that — be better. . . Just be better.”
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