Barack Obama says women are “indisputably better than men“

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Chloe Gray
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Barack Obama speaks at a conference in Singapore

This is why the world needs more female leaders, according to Barack Obama. 

Even though the Obamas departed the White House in 2017, they’re still trying to change the world. Michelle’s book has gone on to worldwide success, with her stories on persistence inspiring people from all walks of life. They’ve also established The Obama Foundation to inspire, connect and empower young people around the world. And former-president Obama has, himself, become an inspirational speaker at events throughout the world.

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Just a few months ago, his panel talk with Stylist’s guest editor Yara Shahidi went viral when he began sharing his wisdom on how we build up and tear down people online. Calling out ‘woke culture’, he said: “The world is messy, there are ambiguities, and people who do really good stuff have flaws.”

And now he’s at it again. Speaking at a private event on leadership in Singapore, Obama talked about female leadership – and our ears pricked.

Most notably, he said that if women ran every country in the world there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes. He also went on to say that while women aren’t perfect, they are “indisputably better than men”. 

Yara Shahidi with Barack Obama
Yara Shahidi with Barack Obama

According to the science, he’s not wrong. Harvard Business Review reports that women actually outperform men on 17 of the 19 capabilities that make an exceptional leader, including resilience and championing change.

We also watch on in awe as Jacinda Ardern has dealt with atrocities across her country with the utmost strength and compassion, and as Sanna Marin takes over as prime minister of Finland, we can see why he believes countries led by women have the potential to be nicer places to live. 

It’s important to note that we’ve also seen countries divided by women, such as the Thatcher era in our own country. However, Obama made a great point: the BBC reports that he explained how most of the problems in the world come from old people, mostly men, holding onto positions of power (we couldn’t possibly guess who he was taking a dig at). Obama’s right: by its very nature, the archaic, patriarchal structure of our world is responsible for a lack of equality. It’s also not hard to find evidence of men in power who have stood in the way of reform or, worse, turned progress backwards. Think of the abortion bans in America, or Brazil’s Bolsonaro who doesn’t believe in climate change. 

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It’s not the first time Obama has spoken out about female leadership: in 2017 he told an audience in Paris that more women need to be put in positions of power “because men seem to be having some problems these days.”

“Not to generalise but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialisation,” he added.

There’s only one way to tell if Obama’s predictions are correct, and that’s to get more women in positions of power. We can’t wait to see if he’s right. 

Images: Getty


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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).