On Wednesday afternoon [March 16] President Barack Obama held a reception at the White House in honor of Women’s History Month, where he made a few remarks regarding First Lady Michelle Obama‘s launch of a new Let Girls Learn initiative in Austin, TX, according to the Huffington Post.
Obama discussed a number of important topics including equal pay, education for women around the world and the online harassment that women have to deal with often on the Internet.
“One thing I’ve been thinking about this past week is the unique challenges women face in the virtual world. Last Friday, I was at South by Southwest, where the epidemic of online harassment was a topic of discussion,” said Obama. “We know that women gamers face harassment and stalking and threats of violence from other players. When they speak out about their experiences, they’re attacked on Twitter and other social media outlets, even threatened in their homes.”
He explained there are multiple women who are speaking out against online harassment everyday, while highlighting why what they do is so important.
“Every day, women of all ages and all backgrounds and walks of life are speaking out. And by you telling your stories, women are lifting others out of the shadows and raising our collective consciousness about a problem that affects all of us,” said Obama.
He added that “this is not just the role for women, it’s about men speaking up and demanding better of themselves and their peers, their sons, their friends, their coworkers. Because we’re all in this together.
With a crowd made up of women like Nancy Pelosi and the first female National Football League coach, Jennifer Welter, Obama said the Internet is a public space “where women have every right to exist freely and safely” without fear of harassment or violent responses.