Barack Obama on empowering women in politics: ‘Men have been getting on my nerves lately’


Former President Barack Obama is tired of watching men make a mess of things and wants more women to get involved in politics.

Wednesday, during a town hall in Johannesburg, a woman from Kenya asked Obama for his advice on how to get involved in politics in a country where political corruption is so prevalent. His answer was straight to the point.

“I mean, every day I read the newspaper and I just think like, ‘Brothers, what’s wrong with you guys? What’s wrong with us?’” he continued. “I mean, we’re violent, we’re bullying. You know, just not handling our business. So, I think empowering more women on the continent ― that right away is going to lead to some better policies.”

While addressing the 200 students at the African Leadership Academy, the 44th president of the United States also explained there were many “different ways in which you can effectuate change.”

“The one thing you can’t do is pretend that politics doesn’t matter and say to yourself ‘that’s too corrupt, that’s too broken, I’m not going to get involved in it’ because at some point if you are ambitious about what you are doing in your home country, you will confront politics.”

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The 90 minute event was hosted by The Obama Foundation and was the second major speech from Obama in South Africa in two days after a previous stop-off in Kenya. He’s using the trip to promote his foundation’s mission “to inspire and empower people to change their world.”

The students attending the town hall were selected from 10,000 applicants and as part of the program they all spent a week participating in leadership training and workshops in Johannesburg.

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Obama informed the cheering crowd that he enjoyed the more informal setting of town halls as it allowed him to be surrounded by ambitious “kindred spirits” who were “doing amazing things but so often feel isolated” and lacked the framework to move their ideas forward.

“I knew that when I left office this was going to be the thing that would inspire me the most, to be able to interact with you, and inspire you and help you change the world.”


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