President Barack Obama opened up about feminism and fighting gender stereotypes in a new essay published on Thursday.
“The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist,” Obama wrote for Glamour.
“In my lifetime we’ve gone from a job market that basically confined women to a handful of often poorly paid positions to a moment when women not only make up roughly half the workforce but are leading in every sector, from sports to space, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court,” he continued.
Obama, who celebrated his 55th birthday on Thursday as well, went on to say that we must honor the progress we have made, but acknowledged that some of the biggest challenges will be changing the way we think about gender and equality.
“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear,” he said. “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”
“It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.”
Obama closed the essay by offering praise for Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman in U.S. history to be so nominated by a major party.
“I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too, is their inheritance,” he said. “I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too … That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”