Obama praises progress, urges more at Women's History Month reception

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 17, 2016 at 7:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama celebrated Women's History Month during an address at the White House, where he urged for global gender equality.

"We have people here who've been working together to advance women's equality for decades, as well as members of a rising generation of activists and advocates and leaders who are picking up the mantle, taking the baton, and they are moving things forward," Obama told a packed audience of mostly women Wednesday.

To audience applause, Obama hailed past victories under his administration in terms of improving gender quality, including passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Affordable Care Act, which covers women's preventive healthcare.

"We still need to fight for economic equality, for equal opportunities for entrepreneurs, for equal pay for equal work. We still need to make sure that paid family leave is not the exception around the country, but is the rule," Obama said. "So that women, especially low-income women, don't lose their jobs for minor things like giving birth. We have to end violence against women. We have to end practices like child marriage. We've got to make sure that girls around the world have the same opportunities as boys to go to school."

Obama also spoke on the topic of online harassment, particularly against women who play video games and on social media. He remarked that on Twitter, female journalists receive three times the abuse when compared to male colleagues.

The president said that although progress has been made, much more needs to be done -- including in efforts to remove the "glass ceiling" that prevents women from reaching deserved opportunities.

"That is why we celebrate Women's History Month -- not to get complacent, but to take a moment each year and celebrate the achievements that women have fought so hard to achieve, and to rededicate ourselves to tackling the challenges that remain," Obama said.

The president's speech can be found below, beginning at the 43:25 time mark, after he was introduced by Marvel's Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, who began speaking at the 40:00 time mark:

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