Speaking at the first ever United States Women’s Summit, President Obama reaffirmed his allegiance to feminism.

At the day-long event hosted by the White House to tout the progress and the work that lay ahead for the American woman, President Obama said: “I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like”.

The event which took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center had in attendance about 5,000 women and featured speeches by Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and the First Lady.

President Obama said he couldn’t be prouder of what his administration has been able to accomplish for women and girls over the past seven and a half years.

He noted that his administration has put in lots of work to advance family leave policies, women’s health care, and access to STEM education.

“We don’t have to have Congress agree with us. We can go ahead and make progress without waiting for them,” Obama said. “They’ll catch up eventually.” he concluded.

He also discussed feminism abroad, promoting women’s rights as a national security issue and saying groups like Boko Haram and ISIS perpetuate violence against women and silence them.

He noted that gender discrimination, unequal policies, and stereotypes about how men and women should behave in society still have a stronghold on society.

“It’s not just about the Benjamin’s,” Obama said, a nod to Benjamin Franklin whose face graces the front of the $100 bill. “It’s about the Tubman’s, too.”

Author: Ope Adedeji