Former First Lady Michelle Obama made her first public appearance since she and Barack Obama left the White House in January, stepping out at the American Institute of Artist’s annual conference last week in Orlando, Florida.
During her appearance, Mrs. Obama reiterated that she will NOT be running for office, “I wouldn’t ask my children to do this again because, when you run for higher office, it’s not just you, it’s your whole family,” she said, noting that she will continue her work on two important causes: ending childhood obesity and promoting education.
She also offered a simple reason about why she didn’t cry on Inauguration Day.
On the challenges of being a working mother:
“It’s not easy,” she said, “and it’s never going to be. The one thing I can say to working mothers out there: Don’t beat up on yourselves. What you are doing is hard, and we still don’t live in a society that supports it.”
She shared the story of returning to her position at the University of Chicago and not only asking for higher pay but also requesting a schedule that would allow her to spend more times with her children.
“If you have leverage, you have to push for the women who don’t,” she said. “We have to start asking for what we need, and then we need employers to be more open to what work-life balance can actually look like.”
On diversity in the workforce:
“That’s not just the field of architecture,” Obama replied. “Look at law, look at science, look at so many professions. The struggle is still real. You can’t start recruiting from a pool that doesn’t exist. You have to build that pool, and you have to start at a young age. So many kids don’t even know what an architect is.”
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