Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Obama bemoans hardship in Women's Day speech

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama warned on Monday that women in America still faced unfairness and hardship, as he vowed to fight for gender equality at a White House reception on International Women's Day.

"I didn't run for president so that the dreams of our daughters could be deferred or denied," Obama said.

"I didn't run for president to see inequality and injustice persist in our time."

Obama was joined by his wife First Lady Michelle Obama, the first female secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and his rival-turned-ally and current top US diplomat Hillary Clinton at an event in the East Room of the White House.

"Even as we reflect on the hope of our history, we must also face squarely the reality of the present -- a reality marked by unfairness, marked by hardship for too many women in America," Obama said.

"I ran for president to put the same rights, the same opportunities, the same dreams within the reach for our daughters and our sons alike."

The president also praised Clinton and US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for making the alleviation of suffering of women a priority in US foreign policy, including lifting restrictions on access to family planning.

Michelle Obama introduced her husband with a joke: "I get to speak first while he stands and watches. I love this," she said to laughter.

"Look at me adoringly," she told her husband.

"I can do that," the president quipped.

"With sincerity," she said, sparking loud laughs.

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