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Obama Delivers a Feminist Speech at Barnard College


“We know we are better off when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect of American life, whether it’s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make”

“My first piece of advice is this: Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.”

“Which brings me to my second piece of advice: Never underestimate the power of your example. The very fact that you are graduating, let alone that more women now graduate from college than men, is only possible because earlier generations of women — your mothers, your grandmothers, your aunts — shattered the myth that you couldn’t or shouldn’t be where you are.”

“My last piece of advice — this is simple, but perhaps most important: Persevere. Persevere. Nothing worthwhile is easy. No one of achievement has avoided failure — sometimes catastrophic failures. But they keep at it. They learn from mistakes. They don’t quit.”

About Claire

I grew up in both the Netherlands and the US. When I moved to America at age 10 I was confronted with conflicting social constructs of gender and class. As a student of the social and cognitive sciences, I gained a greater understanding of how human decision-making can lead to unintended system-wide consequences in the interdependent world we live in, especially when you throw stereotyping into the mix. Having struggled as both a poor and female American citizen, I am quite aware of what it means to blame a victim for their circumstances. I feel that I have a voice, and responsibility, to stand up for those who are currently silent.

4 thoughts on “Obama Delivers a Feminist Speech at Barnard College

  1. Hey, I am the girl smiling directly at the camera in this photo. I was wondering where did you get this, and also can I have a cop. Thank you!

    1. Hi Stephanie. How lucky that you got to watch Obama speak at your graduation, and coincidental that you came across your own image here on our blog! It was actually a picture I found on Google Images when I searched for “Obama speech Barnard” so I am not sure who the original photographer is. I normally link to the original location of images, but didn’t do that here.

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