The conversation — which occurred at the United State of Women Summit, held at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium — spanned a wide gamut of topics, including motherhood and mentoring. However, the conversation naturally veered toward Obama’s feelings about a potential future in office. Or, to be more specific, the Oval Office.
Don’t get too excited just yet, though. Obama’s response amounted to some bad news and some good news. We’ll get the bad news out of the way first and just say that the former first lady seems to be sticking to her choice not to run for president. “I don’t think I’m any different than Hillary [Clinton],” she told the crowd when the idea was suggested. “It’s not about finding one right person who can save us, it’s us.”
Now, for the possibly good news: Obama didn’t come right out and say she wouldn’t run, either.
Based on the beautiful and incredibly salient things she said to Ross throughout the panel, Obama would likely bring a fresh, female perspective to the White House.
“In light of the last election, I’m concerned about us as women. What is going on in our heads that we let that happen? What are girls dreaming about when the most qualified person running was a woman, and look what we did? If we are still suspicious of each other and have this crazy bar for each other… if we are not comfortable that a woman could be our president, as compared to what? … That’s on us,” she said.
Obama stressed that there is still much work to do in the realm of gender equality, pointing out that “watching men fail up is frustrating.” At this point, women can’t be content with what progress has been made. We need to keep pushing for change. “Just holding onto our seats at the table is not enough to help our girls,” she said.
But the former first lady didn’t put the responsibility solely on women, of course. Men have to effect change, too.
“You can’t whisper magical thoughts in your daughter’s ear and go into a workplace where you tolerate [this] existence,” she said. “If you are tolerating that, that’s the workplace that will be waiting for your little girl, and you have sold her a bill of goods.”
Can we get a praise hands emoji? Even if Obama decides not to run for office, let’s keep our fingers crossed that she’ll continue to inspire women and girls (and, hopefully, men!) with her stirring words.