August 6th, 2014
02:58 PM ET
2 months ago

Michelle Obama: 'Women are smarter than men'

Washington (CNN) - Michelle Obama was asked on Wednesday why it's important to speak up in her position and her jovial answer to a group of African first spouses highlighted many men have come to realize over time: Women are smarter than men as a whole.

"Women are smarter than men," Obama quipped to a chorus of laughs at the African Leaders Spousal Summit in Washington. "And the men can't complain because you're outnumbered today."

The event, co-sponsored by the Bush Institute, brought together first spouses throughout Africa who are in Washington for the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit.

Former First Lady Laura Bush joined Obama on-stage and fielded questions from journalist Cokie Roberts. This is the second time Obama and Bush have appeared on stage together. The two also joined forces last year in Tanzania at the African First Ladies Summit.

Obama and Bush discussed women's rights issues from around the world, saying those problems must be addressed before other major issues – like climate change, disease and famine – are addressed.

"Men, leaders, women, until we value women and girls, we won't tackle those other problems," Obama said. "Until we prioritize our girls and understand that they are important and that their education is as important as the education of our sons, then we will have lots of work to do."

Bush echoed that sentiment. "Only countries where all people are involved can be successful," she said.

"When we look around the world and see countries where half of the population is marginalized or left out, then we usually see countries that are failing," Bush added.

President George W. Bush has been praised by Democrats and Republicans alike for his considerable focus on the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The Bushes have continued that effort since leaving office and expanded it to include health screenings for women. The former president was also in the audience on Wednesday, saying he was joining because he's a "spouse."

With just over two years left of her time in the White House, Obama was asked what she wants to leave behind while also looking at opportunities for the future.

"There is nothing wrong with thinking about legacy and what we want to leave for the world," Obama said. "I don't think we should be afraid as women to have those conversations. It's too soon for me to do it now but the time will come and I will embrace that."

In the meantime, Obama said, the fight for women's rights and especially girls continues.

"We have to fight for our girls," Obama concluded. "There should never be a girl in this world who has to fear getting educated. That should be something that is intolerable to us."


Filed under: Africa • Laura Bush • Michelle Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I'm going to have to give this one to her. Over the generations, women have trained men to wait on them hand and foot.

    August 6, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. BigTex

    Maybe that's why the GOP has waged the "War on Women"...

    August 6, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Ian's Rushtache

    Rush Limbaugh's head just explided.

    August 6, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Klutch Cargo

    Well!,
    I do believe this is the first time I have been proud of my country!!!

    August 6, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Chris..E.Al

    She should have thought about that statement and remembered the day she wed :) Im sorry i had to lol . My wife gets that all the time prob true in both cases .

    August 6, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Cory111

    -Rush Limbaugh's head just exploded-
    If it had we would have heard it on the west coast, it's that big.

    August 6, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    No argument there.

    August 6, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Get Rid Of Islam

    That would be a start."
    ===

    Ben Shapiro is that you?

    August 6, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    "Women are smarter than men," (Ms Obama)

    But according to the Leftie Master of the Ticker (aka, Sniffit), women (or girls?) can't even say no to a man. ( " she had a kid at 16 because she was poor " )

    "There should never be a girl in this world who has to fear getting educated" (Ms Obama)

    But according to the Leftie Master of the Ticker (aka, Sniffit), " and all that goes with it in terms of lack of opportunities and education ",
    " those kinds of opportunities don't really exist"

    Once in poverty, they are doomed to poverty. (Extreme Leftie viewpoint)

    I happen to believe, along with Ms Obama, that our country's young women CAN improve their lives, and can get an education, even those currently living in poverty.

    And along with Rand Paul, I believe that not getting pregnant at an early age is possible, and a goal worth shooting for.

    August 6, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. R-oh

    Hey michelle im a dumb male, tell me how do they fit your big ego into the white house?

    August 6, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I happen to believe, along with Ms Obama, that our country's young women CAN improve their lives, and can get an education, even those currently living in poverty.

    And along with Rand Paul, I believe that not getting pregnant at an early age is possible, and a goal worth shooting for.
    --------------------------
    Tell you what. Try that stunt that some conservative pulled last week in California. Move to a major urban area, and try to live for a week off of just forty dollars. Go get a reality check like he did.

    August 6, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Raven

    She is right about that one.

    August 6, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. salty dog

    R-oh, they use the double doors.

    August 6, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. salty dog

    Bill, did you take your meds today? If you think opportunities are equal, your dreaming, and you might as well say what difference does it make, taking things out of context to make an argument means you dont have one.

    August 6, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Ol' Yeller

    I happen to believe, along with Ms Obama, that our country's young women CAN improve their lives, and can get an education, even those currently living in poverty (It is just neither I, nor my party, have any intention of assisting them even one iota in doing this. It is our plan to continue to disenfranchise them and keep them uneducated and living in poverty. Easier to control them that way... don't want them getting 'uppity').

    And along with Rand Paul, I believe that not getting pregnant at an early age is possible, and a goal worth shooting for."
    (I agree... neither you nor rand paul should get pregnant at an early age... HOWEVER, if you do, I am sure you would agree that all legal options should made available to you in deciding how to proceed should this goal not be attained).

    August 6, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    --could be true, it is the reason more women are working while men are enjoying at home. Who is smart left to you–USA!!!

    August 6, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. anniebella

    Agree 100% Mrs. Obama. Women are smarter then men.

    August 6, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. definitely

    BigTex Maybe that's why the DEMS has waged the "War on Women"...

    August 6, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC – "Tell you what. Try that stunt that some conservative pulled last week in California. Move to a major urban area, and try to live for a week off of just forty dollars. Go get a reality check like he did.

    ________
    Did the conservative get pregnant??

    I fail to see the connection with getting pregnant at an early age and poverty, at least I see no connection that cannot be broken.

    Quit getting pregnant at an early age, stay in school, and the poverty rate will go down.

    August 6, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Bill, did you take your meds today? If you think opportunities are equal, your dreaming, and you might as well say what difference does it make, taking things out of context to make an argument means you dont have one."

    I'll leave it at that really. I obviously struck the narcissism nerve, which is why he flew off the handle. The folks who rant and rave about "accountability" and who don't want to admit that there are severe institutionalized impediments to opportunity and good choices and information and education to understand potential consequences, etc....they're really just trying to defend their feelings of superiority to the ones they're yelling at to be more "accountable." The superiority all collapses if the whole thing wasn't fair to begin with, if one had advantages and the other didn't, if one faced hurdles the other didn't, so they have to pretend it was all fair and equal. I suppose it's also all wrapped up in their whole ideological belief that they're exempt from the social contract and don't have to contribute or do anything to help if everything was fair and equal and everyone is the sole source of their own suffering.

    August 6, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. definitely

    Yep Ol' Yeller, like we always say We be not want to be like these other people we just wants what's they got.

    August 6, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Bill from GA

    salty dog – "If you think opportunities are equal, your dreaming "

    I didn't say that. That is not the same as saying "those kinds of opportunities don't really exist".

    But in this country there is an opportunity to go to high school (hopefully without a baby or 3 to care for), and also in most areas plenty of help to get two or more years of secondary education.

    There are plenty of financial aids for the poor to go to college. There is too little motivation. And too many students leaving high school are not prepared for college. No accountability in the high schools.

    But what is the ultra-leftie solution?
    Gonna just keep take working, tax-paying Americans' money and hand it out, with no attempt to change things?
    I think Ms Obama would agree with me that a change is needed.

    August 6, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |