Obama says there is a connection between gender inequality and terrorism

The president said that when women are oppressed, it can lead to instability and violence, as has been seen with Isis and Boko Haram


Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 14 June 2016 20:50
Gender inequality can lead to instability and violence, says the president
Gender inequality can lead to instability and violence, says the president

Feminism is a national security issue, according to president Barack Obama, speaking at the first ever White House summit on women’s issues.

Referring to Boko Haram's kidapping of school girls and Isis' enslavement and raping of women, Mr Obama said that it is the “same ideology [of women being regarded as lesser beings] that leads to instability and violence and terrorism.”

“Organizations and ideologies that are oppressive, that cultivate violence and anger, there’s a running threat,” he said at the summit in Washington DC. “It’s dangerous. and poses a threat to pluralism and tolerance."

His speech came just a few hours after he gave his most scathing put-down yet of Donald Trump and his comments about the need to ban Muslims following a mass shooting of a gay nightclub in Orlando.

He listed prominent and inspiring woman throughout history, from Rosa Parks to the first woman elected as house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and added: “And people like Hillary Clinton who raised expectations of our daughters and our sons."

Mr Obama officially endorsed Ms Clinton last week.

He insisted that the Republicans' refusal to act on issues like paid maternity and paternity leave and affordable childcare have held the economy back.

“They keep waiting for the lame duck thing to happen. It will happen once the people have elected a really good successor,” he said, referring to Ms Clinton.

But he said his government will not give up on trying to make progress.

“My staff get 12 weeks of paid leave. I notice we’re having a lot of babies in the White House. I like that. They bring the babies into the oval office and it makes me feel good,” he joked.

The president said his oldest daughter Malia graduated from high school last week, and that younger generations are optimistic about their futures.

“They think discrimination is for losers. They think it’s weird we’ve not already had a woman president,” he said.

The first bill that Mr Obama signed into law when he took office in 2009 was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

“This is what a feminist looks like,” he told the crowd.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments