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But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society.
In fact, gender stereotypes affect all of us, regardless of our gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Now, the most important people in my life have always been women.
I’ve seen how Michelle has balanced the demands of a busy career and raising a family.
Like many working mothers, she worried about the expectations and judgments of how she should handle the trade-offs, knowing that few people would question choices.
Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be.
It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man.You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man.At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world.And while I’ll keep working on good policies—from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights—there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws.Gone are the days when you needed a husband to get a credit card.In fact, more women than ever, married or single, are financially independent. That would do a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice.There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. For many years my life was consumed by long commutes—from my home in Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, as a state senator, and then to Washington, D. It’s often meant I had to work even harder to be the kind of husband and father I want to be. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. But perhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store.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.