ABC News’ Joyce Wu reports:
President Obama lauded the progress being made toward gender equality at a National Women’s Law Center event tonight honoring the achievements of the women Freedom Riders, and urged supporters to help him continue in the effort to bring positive changes for women.
“We’ve come a long way towards making this country more open and more free for our daughters,” Obama said, citing the many women holding political office, his support for Planned Parenthood and his creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
But, he conceded that the fight is far from over.
“We’ve got a lot more work to do,” he said.
“Change doesn’t always happen quickly or easily,” Obama said, stating that, especially with the weak state of the economy and job market, making strides toward greater gender parity would be a challenging task. “It’s laborious, sometimes it’s frustrating, but it’s real.”
The president drew a sharp contrast between his vision for women’s rights and that of his opposition, criticizing Republican members of Congress for impeding his attempts to secure more opportunities for women through his jobs plan.
“Lifting women up lifts up our economy and lifts up our country…Unfortunately, not everybody in Washington seems to feel the same way,” he said. “In recent weeks, Republicans in the Senate have come together three times to block jobs bills that independent economists say would boost our economy and put millions back to work — including women.”
The president encouraged his audience to contact their members of Congress to spur them to action.
“I need your help,” he said. “I need you to tell Congress to do their jobs by worrying about the jobs of the millions of Americans they were elected to serve.”
In return, he promised to continue his efforts at expanding opportunities for American women and ensuring a “world where every door is open.”
“We’ve got to make sure that…somebody is standing up for [women], somebody is fighting for them, somebody is looking out for them,” Obama said.