Obama Calls For More Women To Be Elected To Office — Stat

"Men seem to be having some problems these days."

Former President Barack Obama did not mince any words during a speaking engagement in Paris on Saturday. Amidst the sexual assault allegations that have come to light around Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Democratic Congressman Al Franken, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and many others, Obama was asked about the future qualifications for leaders on the global stage. He responded by noting that "men seem to be having some problems these days."


"Not to generalize, but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialization," Obama said at the event, called "Les Napoleons," which was organized by a group of communications professionals. 

The 56-year-old former president called for "more women to be put into power."

Obama is about to have the opportunity to walk the walk, too: The Obama Foundation is in the process of selecting 20 fellows for its inaugural program that is focusing on recruiting civic-minded Americans as leaders of the future. Hopefully, there will be a good representation of women, but even Obama — often seen as a strong ally to women — was criticized for a lack of women in his administration.

President Donald Trump  has been excoriated by critics for his treatment of women. 13 women have publicly claimed that President Trump sexually harassed or assaulted them, claims seemingly backed up by the president himself on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Other critics point to a Brookings Institute report that notes that few women are in positions of power in the president's administration. Brookings notes that, as of March, women made up just 27 percent of the total openings in the administration. Of the president's judicial nominees, just 19 percent have been women

The White House, though, insists that Trump has given unprecedented opportunities to women in his administration. For the first time ever, two women serve in the "public-facing roles," NBC reported in September. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and communications director Hope Hicks are some of the most recognizable names in the administration, and it's the first time a female duo has occupied those spots in an administration.

Still, as of March, the United States ranked 104th globally in terms of women's representation in government. Just 19.6% of the 535 members of Congress are women, and the problem persists through lower levels of government. While none of this is cause for encouragement, there are some signs things may be moving in the right direction.

On Monday, The New York Times ran a feature story about the swathe of women now running for elected office across the country. The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers says the level of women running for office at all levels of government is on the rise. Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily's List, an organization whose mission is to elect women to office, told The New York Times that just 1,000 women contacted the organization in the 10 months leading up to the 2016 election. Afterwards? The number has exploded to more than 22,000.

"We have never seen anything like what we have seen over the last 12 months," Ms. Schriock told The New York Times. "If you could underline that four times, that's what I mean."

And, despite what some saw as a hurtful election for women in 2016, the number of women in Congress has continued to rise by one or two percent every. When you remember that about 86 percent of all seats in Congress are taken every year, that number shows some tangible growth. In 2016, the number of women of color in Congress quadrupled from one to four. And, of course, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first woman to ever win the popular vote.

Obama's words of encouragement for female leadership come at a time when the United States desperately trying to catch up to the rest of the world in terms of women's representation in government. With any luck, those words might have an impact on the future.

Cover image via State Department photo by William Ng/ Public Domain.


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