Singapore— Former US President Barack Obama told the audience that gathered at Singapore Expo for his talk, ‘In Conversation with President Barack Obama’, that many of the world’s issues have been caused by older men refusing to let go of power, and if women would lead, the world would be a better place.
Mr Obama was asked if he would consider returning to political office. He replied by saying that at the right time, leaders need to step aside. He said, “If you look at the world and look at the problems it’s usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way. They cling to power, they are insecure, they have outdated ideas, and the energy and fresh vision and new approaches are squashed.”
He said that while women are not perfect, he believes that they would raise standards of living.
“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us. I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.”
He added, “There would be less war, kids would be better taken care of, and there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes.” TODAY reports that these remarks were greeted with much applause.
The former US President also had a message for men who run after power for its own sake. “You are not there for life, you are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self-importance or your own power.”
One of Mr Obama’s main points in his talk was the necessity for more diversity in leadership positions, in order to cover more perspectives and experiences when it comes to making decisions, making an analogy with choosing players of different strengths in building a basketball team.
“A basketball team can’t have all shooters. Some people have to rebound, some people have to do the dirty work, some people have to play defence. The same is true in terms of the diversity of talents that we build on any team, whether it’s in the private sector or the Government.”
Therefore, Mr Obama said, women’s voices as well as people from various economic and ethnic groups, are needed as part of leadership.
This is not the first time that the former US President has extolled women’s superior leadership abilities. Last year, at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, he was even more blunt, saying, “Women, in particular, by the way, I want you to get more involved because men have been getting on my nerves lately. 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?”
His wife Michelle Obama also spoke at the Singapore Expo on December 14th, in an event called ‘An Evening with Michelle Obama.’ Mrs Obama talked about her public and private life as the first African-American First Lady of the United States and sharing from her bestselling memoir, Becoming.