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I was raised by a single mom, who spent much of her career working to empower women in developing countries.I watched as my grandmother, who helped raise me, worked her way up at a bank only to hit a glass ceiling.
You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.
And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man.
Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be.
It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man.
That isn’t always easy, either—watching them prepare to leave the nest.
But one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman.
Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself. We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear.
We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.
But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office.
As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women.