President Obama: If women ran the world, everything would improve

Embed from Getty Images
We’ve heard from the Obamas more often in recent weeks: Michelle Obama spoke to Jenna Bush Hager during her trip to several countries in Asia as she works to promote girls’ education. President Obama just spoke at the Obama Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Leaders Program in Maylasia, where he had a conversation with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, about their childhood and the value of experiencing a multicultural childhood. President Obama also attended a private leadership in Singapore during which he said that the world would be thriving if its leaders were all women:

“I’m absolutely confident that for two years, if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything . . . living standards and outcomes,” Obama said at a private leadership event in Singapore.

In the remarks captured by the BBC, the 44th U.S. president, who served from 2009 until 2017, noted that while women “aren’t perfect,” they are “indisputably” better than their male counterparts.

Asked if he would ever consider re-entering politics, Obama replied that it is important for leaders to know when to step aside. He said the job of a president or leader is not for life nor is intended to enhance one’s personal political power.

“If you look at the world and look at the problems, it’s usually old people — usually old men — not getting out of the way,” he contended. “It’s important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life. You are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self importance or your own power.”

[From Salon]

This article from UN Women from June notes that 11 women were serving as Head of State and 12 were serving as Head of Government. I know that this list leaves out Sanna Marin, the new prime minister of Finland. At 34, she is the world’s youngest prime minister.

I keep thinking about Nancy Pelosi’s masterful handling of Trump. She remains calm and lets him set himself up to trip over his own ego. I’m reminded of the way that we’ve seen women in the U.S. handle themselves while giving testimony, whether that’s Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, or Marie Yovanovitch testifying during the impeachment hearing. They exude confidence, knowledge, and calm, rational thought. They aren’t interested in grandstanding. I agree with Obama, and I hope that we see the number of women elected leaders of countries continue to grow. That said, local politics matter so much, and so I hope that women keep running for (and winning) local and state office, too.

BGUS_1759653_001

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

photos credit: Getty and Backgrid

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

59 Responses to “President Obama: If women ran the world, everything would improve”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Joanna says:

    This is just another reason why I love you boo 🤗

  2. helonearth says:

    Yep!

  3. Torontoe says:

    If you feel like the issue is old men who need to step aside, call your buddy Biden and please tell him so ( I really like Obama I’m just sick of Joe and someone needs to talk some sense into him)

  4. naomipaige99 says:

    And this is why we lLOVE Obama!!!!!

    Now get ready for baby Huey DUMP, to tear Obama apart on Twitter….

  5. Mignionette says:

    Yaaaaaassssss !!!! *clicks fingers*

  6. Lucy2 says:

    He’s not wrong! I think the world would be more peaceful and things would just be better.

  7. Sarah says:

    No lies detected, Barry. Please call your BFF Joe for the personalized version of these remarks.

  8. Lala11_7 says:

    Whateva Dude…perhaps if you had reigned down HELL when Russia et al was hijacking the POTUS election in 2016…instead of letting McConnell punk you with that…”Partisan Crap”…Hillary would be POTUS now…we could have Hillary and Merkel running thangs in the free world while kicking fascism directly in its putrid a– and I would NOT be BEYONDLIVID.COM!

    So…again…

    Whateva….

    • Goofpuff says:

      Yeah I don’t think Obama raining down hell would have helped Hilary. It would just give the alt right more ammunition against her. Trump is always the fault of the sheep who thought voting in a reality TV Star was a good idea. I lay the blame squarely on the gullible voters who still spout Alt right Propaganda without really understanding anything they are saying.

      • The Recluse says:

        Don’t forget that obscene example of obsolete election governance: the bloody Electoral college.
        Hillary had the popular vote, by nearly 3 million!

    • Sean says:

      THIS. THIS. THIS. After Moscow Mitch told Obama he wouldn’t release a joint statement regarding Russian interference, it was Obama’s duty to tell the country what was happening. However, he was more concerned with his legacy and didn’t want to appear partisan. He also appointed an FBI director who felt it was wise to remain silent on Russia helping Trump get elected but made sure to hold press conferences regarding BUTTER EMAILS!

      Obama failed us. The FBI failed us. The media failed us. Now we’re living under a dictatorship. I’m not being hyperbolic.

      • Mumbles says:

        Hillary not campaigning in swing states failed us. But hey, blame the black man. White women have done that for centuries.

      • Darla says:

        Except that she did campaign in swing states. She even closed her campaign in PA, with a huge wonderful concert/campaign event. And sorry, but the president of the United States has a job, and that job includes protecting this country from foreign aggression. He failed.

    • Darla says:

      Agree. @Lala

    • stepup says:

      Thank you. Obama knows his audience. He’s the king of anodyne sound bytes that certain people fawn over. If he really believed this, he would have done more.

      • tealily says:

        Yessssssssss. Sorry, can’t get pumped about an obsequious quote right now. There’s other sh-t going on.

    • ME says:

      You know what failed us – the majority of people who couldn’t get up off their a$$es to vote. Seriously? Sure Comey, Russia, Trump, GOP, Obama, Hilary all could’ve done more (or in some cases done a lot less) but ultimately people were lazy, complacent and apathetic. Red flags were always there.

      • Exactly says:

        +1,000,000

      • stepup says:

        Oh yes, those LAZY voters of color are to blame! The ones that got purged from voter rolls mysteriously and had to cast provisional ballots that were never counted…or the ones who had to choose between losing their jobs and voting.

        Pfft.

  9. Wisca says:

    He could have chosen a woman VP; instead, he chose Biden. I guess he knew that would have been too much change for the bigoted electorate. I once heard a prominent black conservative economics professor say: Obama was possible because Americans know and trust male leadership. The real change with be a woman president because we simply have never done that. The media was obviously gleeful as Warren lost her upward trajectory.

    • Mumbles says:

      A look at his administration and circle of political advisers reveals that other than Valerie Jarrett, his circle was very bro-heavy. Do as I say, not as I do.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yes the advisors were mostly male, but he had a number of women in his cabinet, nominated 2 women to the Supreme Court, and had close to equal employment in most departments. Not perfect, but I’m guessing better than most previous presidents.

  10. Monicack says:

    Everyone please watch Heroine(e) on Netflix. After watching it I realized beyond any doubt that women are uniquely qualified to run everything. All of it. The whole show.

  11. JanetFerber says:

    The picture of Obama holding the coffee. Amazingly graceful, hot, handsome, smart, kind, the whole damn works!!!!! Goddamn the gremlin who slithered into his place. Gravitas versus slime. Honorable gentleman, Nobel Prize winner, husband of the glorious Michelle and two outstanding daughters. Eight years of honorably serving his country. I could cry about what we’ve lost and the knave, the coward, the scoundrel, the criminal who has desecrated the highest office of the land and turned it into his lair.

  12. Sarah says:

    I tend to subscribe to Camille Paglia’s view of female leadership: If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.

    Men are malcontent by nature (they’re hardwired hunters), which is why nearly all inventions/innovations come from them. Like it or not, it’s the leadership of men that has kept the human race from going extinct from disease, the elements, etc.

    • Sean says:

      I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that. For most of history and societies women have been treated as property at worst, second citizens at best. Because of that, we have no idea what civilization would look like had women always been treated as equals.

    • lucy2 says:

      Maybe “nearly all” the inventions and innovations came from men because for most of history women didn’t have access – to education, to jobs, to voting, to property, to birth control, to equal pay, etc.

      • Arpeggi says:

        This! Not to forget that women invented/discovered a lot of stuff but were never credited for it. Women developed agriculture and learned animals’ reproduction cycles (including ours). Midwives were the OG GPs that people would call to cure their illnesses, coding was originally a low-grade woman’s job and many of the computer’s pioneer were women. Heck! Even the DNA’s double helix mystery was solved by a woman but the discovery was credited to white dudes. Same for Marie Curie who was often told her husbands were actually the ones who had done the real work…

        So yeah, as a woman in life sciences where women now count for over 60% of the trainees from undergrad to PhD (because we are now allowed to) I take offense at the “men discovered all the good stuff”. It’s not true and had we been treated as equal, lord knows how the world would look like now!

      • Jadedone says:

        Spot on Lucy2

      • lucy2 says:

        Arpeggi, that’s another good point – men have been taking credit for women’s work for AGES.

    • Kate says:

      Are men also keeping the human race from going extinct from climate changes that resulted from irresponsible and greedy decision making too?

      Like Sean and lucy2 said, you can’t know how things would have turned out differently had men not always been physically stronger than women and able to subdue them to passive roles. You can’t look at the product of 200,000 years of oppression and say “yeah they would never be able to be strong enough or innovative enough to have done better.” It’s a pointless argument and frankly a dangerous one, if used to disincentivize people from voting for women leaders.

    • Elo says:

      That’s a really strange conclusion to draw.
      Like how does a woman really think that if women ran things we would all still be in grass huts?

      There are female scientists, female inventors, female engineers, and even female architects. We hardly just sit around getting saved from the elements by men. What an obtuse thought with so little basis of thought behind it.

    • The Recluse says:

      Unless Paglia is a time traveling anthropologist, I would take her historical views with a salt mine.
      There is a saying that applies: the past is a foreign country.

    • Jaded says:

      Women were treated like chattel for generations upon generations, many in developing countries still are. We didn’t get the vote until 1920 after decades of suffrage. All over the world women’s rights like owning property, banning marital rape and physical abuse, being allowed to initiate judicial proceedings without their husband’s permission, etc. etc. weren’t put into law until the early 2000′s and many countries still ban women from these rights.

      Camille Paglia is undoubtedly an intelligent woman with some interesting opinions on society and culture today. On the other hand, she becomes truculent and indignant when her opinions are refuted. She lauded Madonna as “the true feminist,” who “exposes the puritanism and suffocating ideology of American feminism, which is stuck in an adolescent whining mode.” Since making that comment she’s now done an about-face and states “she was once refreshingly sane in her teasing affection for men but has now undergone a “collapse into rote male-bashing.”

      It’s her woman-bashing that is offensive and based on nothing more than her own bloated sense of self-importance.

  13. SJR says:

    Ehhh, I don’t know that I agree with this blanket statement.
    IMO, it’s much more about knowledge, humanity, connections, etc. vs. male or female in a leader.
    I do think there are a great many women who are equally qualified or better qualified to be leaders vs. a great many men who are in positions of power.

    Many countries have women leaders who are excellent leaders.
    It’s not because they are or are not women, they are just excellent, right person in the job.

    Why can’t the US elect a POTUS actually worth voting for?
    I personally despise Trump, and of all the Dem candidates running..I do not have good faith that any of them can lead this country with the crap situation we are currently in, but somebody has do try to do the job. IMO, the US is truly messed up in a billion ways, Trump has dug us into an enormous hole. God help us.

    Btw, Obama looks like he has aged 100 years after being POTUS.
    And, Biden should not be elected on Obamas coat tails.
    End rant, for now.

  14. JanetFerber says:

    Camille Paglia is no feminist and has no f-cking idea what the world would be like had women ruled from creation. She is such an a-hole.

  15. Capepopsie says:

    I love this man too, and SOMEONE should be taking notes. 😑

  16. Arpeggi says:

    Margaret Thatcher? Benazir Bhutto? Aung San Suu Kyi? History has shown many times that once they reach power, women can be just as greedy, corrupt and awful as men even when they have known themselves prejudice and oppression. While it’s likely that a world ruled by a majority of women would do slightly better for a few years, it’d likely get back to how things are done quickly because we forget how miserable our oppression made us feel quite fast once we get to the top and greed is a vicious thing.

    I mean, look how difficult it is to bring up transectionality in most feminist circles! How can one ever imagine we’d be doing a better job at caring for those who are different or born less lucky than us? What’s needed is more equality, more women, more POC, more people from religious and sexual minorities, more people from various socio-economic backgrounds in power. More women in itself wouldn’t do much good

  17. Dara says:

    I voted for Hillary, and I ugly-cried when I knew she wouldn’t be president, but after thinking about it (probably too much for my own good) i think her first years in office would have been painful. Not because of her policies or politics, but because she would have had Republican majorities in both houses of Congress obstructing her in every possible and Trump insulting her from the sidelines every minute of every day. Can you imagine what McConnell would have been like with President Hillary Clinton in office? I can, and it’s not pretty.

  18. rosamund12 says:

    I don’t know. Comments like this strike me as so simplistic as to be silly, and suspiciously patronizing, which really rubs me the wrong way. If we’re saying that we’d be better off with women across the board, I assume we’re acknowledging men and women naturally have different strengths and weaknesses? Because that is not an uncontroversial statement, especially when you start trying to list them. What I would agree with wholeheartedly is that society functions best when there is a balance of both men and women in high places, which means we have to boost those numbers for women. I think any boardroom, committee, government, string quartet– you name it– works best when there is a mix of styles and strengths.

  19. Mrs. Peel says:

    Just seeing a pic of Obama these days practically brings a tear to my eye – I miss this kind, rational, intelligent man and his authoritative words and comforting voice.

  20. zotsioltar says:

    Yea, not sure I buy this. Ask the people of Argentina – they went to war with a country led by 2.

  21. dawnchild says:

    This is too simplistic a statement from Obama…a soundbite with no depth.

    No, what we need is a new leadership model based on qualities that have been HISTORICALLY associated with the less empowered, usually female half, of society; ie. hard work (esp in less glorified ways that nevertheless serve to keep society functioning), humility, sharing credit, moderation, compassion, diplomacy, and less $$ compensation. The women who ascend to the current male version of the top positions of power also often have to take on their hard-edged, ruthless, power-hungry personas in order to succeed…and then where are we? Just the same sort of leadership, except with vaginas and pearls that uphold the same system.

    Mary Beard’s “Women and Power” is a beautiful little book that speaks to these complex ideas and gives food for thought.

    Changing things is not as simple as putting women in charge. We have to change what we have come to expect as good leadership.

  22. Cami says:

    Four words- Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May.

  23. Amelie says:

    I highly suggest to people (men and women) to read The Power by Naomi Alderman. Some of you may have already read it but in short it’s a book about the premise of women worldwide discovering they have an “electrostatic” power–they can shoot electricity bolts from their hands. As more women are awakened to their power, it upsets the world balance and explores the idea of a world with women gaining the upper hand. It’s a very interesting premise and the book is gripping. I think Amazon is developing it for a miniseries too.

  24. Mew says:

    Not true. We can’t know. It could be better, worse or the same. Most likely, it would differ from person to person/ woman to woman. Women are just as capable being ruthless, driven by greed or making wrong decisions. Some women drive hard inequaty. Many many wars have been started by women rulers. How is this that kind of narrative helping anyone? He’s just scoring some extra points saying things that women especially love to hear and it seems to be working.