Michelle Obama has a gorgeous cover on the September issue of Ladies Home Journal, but the magazine isn’t interested in the First Lady’s looks. Inside, they sit down with the Flotus and President Obama for a candid discussion on women and leadership—and of course the qualities the POTUS loves most about his leading lady.
Here are a few bits from the interview:
How can we get more women to be leaders, whether in Washington or on their home turf?
Michelle Obama: We have to start with them while they’re young and instill in girls a sense of confidence. That’s why sports are so important. They teach you how to compete — how to fall down and get back up. And there are organizations like the Girl Scouts: They nurture self-confidence and give girls the chance to practice being in charge. We’ve got to give young women the opportunities to be leaders.
President Obama: It’s easier for boys to imagine themselves being President. They see themselves as being in charge. Girls are socialized to think about other people more. I want Malia and Sasha to feel confident about expressing their opinions. And if they’re good at something I want them to have the confidence to step up and shine. I don’t want them to lose their empathy and stop thinking about other people, because that’s an important part of leadership, too. But I don’t want them to be wallflowers.
Michelle Obama: We talk about this a lot, obviously. But it’s not just about what we want for our girls…we also think about the girls who grew up like we grew up: in working-class neighborhoods where they didn’t have sports programs. Or in a single-parent home. They need to be encouraged, too. Choices and options shouldn’t be limited to…
President Obama: …folks of a certain income bracket.
Do you think we are missing out by not having more women in office?
President Obama: I think voters are hungry for women’s leadership. I think they recognize that women oftentimes have a more well-rounded view of what American families are going through. I think they trust women candidates, and women leaders, to do the right thing, as opposed to being in it because of blind ambition. My hope is that each successive generation sees more and more women taking the risk.
Mr. President, what is it about your wife that makes people sit up and listen to her?
President Obama: Well, she’s very smart. She’s a wonderful speaker. She’s very cute.
Michelle Obama: Thanks for this question. I wanted to see what he had to say [laughs].
President Obama: Having said all those things, the quality I love most about her is, she’s honest and genuine. I think that comes across to people. They get a sense that they can trust her. You know, the word “authenticity” is overused these days. But I do think it captures what folks are looking for — not just in leaders, but also in friends and in coworkers — and that is, folks who are on the level. People like that tell you what they think and don’t have a bunch of hidden motives. That’s who Michelle is. She’s also funny. She’s the funniest person in our family.
They are such a team!
What do you think about the First couple’s interview? Do you agree that women leaders seem more trustworthy?
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