With a group of Young African Leaders today in Washington, President Obama was asked about America’s commitment to resolving gender inequalities in African countries. He spoke about why it makes sense to respect women. In his statements, he said, “If you educate and empower and respect a mother, then you are educating the children. So, you know, with a man, you educate him, yeah it’s okay. A woman, you educate her, and suddenly you’ve got an entire village, an entire region, an entire country suddenly is becoming educated.”
Here’s the video (the above comment was made at 2:00):
I don’t understand why the president feels a need to dismiss the importance of men in order to bring attention to the importance of women. He’s not the only one who’s done this, but he’s the president, and I didn’t expect this from him. When you educate a man, it’s just okay? Really? And his next sentence makes it sound like when you educate a man, it has no effect on the man’s children. But you educate the mom and suddenly you’re educating an entire country.
This is not a valid comparison. The president’s overall message was good. I liked it. But he needs to do better with his words. Words are important.
This just happened today, so I don’t know if he’s had a chance to rethink those words. I hope he’s given the opportunity.