*Former first lady Michelle Obama was the guest of honor at the United State of Women Conference at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium on Saturday.
During their conversation, Obama praised her mother Marian Robinson for being her “rock and role model,” adding that the equal love her father, Fraser Robinson, showed to her, teaching her to play catch alongside her brother, Craig, for example, built her confidence as a woman, THR reports.
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“I knew at a young age I was smart and made sense,” she said, urging the young women in attendance to “surround yourself with the people you want to be.”
“There was never anything off limits,” said Obama of her childhood adding that her parents included her in grown-up conversations.
“I try to be open with my girls, and encourage them to use their voice, even when they’re at the dinner table with Barack Obama,” she said. According to THR, the mention of the former president’s name made the crowd go wild.
“I’m not going to tell him you reacted this way,” she joked. “I’m going to tell him his name didn’t even come up.”
“In light of the last election, I’m concerned about us as women,” Obama said, taking a serious turn. “What is going on in our heads that we let that happen? What are girls dreaming about when most qualified person running was a woman and look what we did? If we are still suspicious of each other, and have this crazy bar for each other…If we are not comfortable that a woman could be our president as compared to what?…That’s on us.”
“I wish that girls could fail as bad as men do and be ok because watching men fail up is frustrating,” she continued. “We hold ourselves to these impossible standards.”
Obama said that she felt her generation of women was still pretty limited in terms of ambition.
“If we want our daughters to dream bigger than we did we still have work to do…A lot of us have gotten to table but we are so grateful to be at the table, that we are afraid to shake it up. Now, just holding onto our seats at table is not enough to help our girls.”
She put the responsibility on men, too. “You can’t whisper magical thoughts in your daughter’s ear and go into a workplace where you tolerate [this] existence. If you are tolerating that, that’s the workplace that will be waiting for your little girl, and you have sold her a bill of goods.”
When a voice from the crowd suggested that she run for office, Mrs. Obama shut down the idea. “I don’t think I’m any different than Hillary. It’s not about finding one right person who can save us, it’s us.”
“We still didn’t get ‘Yes, we can,’” she said of Barack Obama’s famous call to action. “Until we get that right, we have a lot of work to do before we focus on the who.”
She urged women to focus on what they can control, starting with their own families. “The job I have control over is who my girls are,” she said, adding, “You all have more influence in the lives of the people who love you than I do. Start in your circle, practice that.”
“You can always find hope,” she said. “I find hope in all these beautiful young people…You don’t have to be first lady or president or run for anything to make change.”
Watch the interview below.