President Obama told female graduates on Monday that they need to fight for a better future during a commencement address at Barnard College.
Women “are now poised to make this the century where women shape not only their own destiny but the destiny of this nation and of this world,” Obama told graduates at Barnard, a women’s college inb New York City affiliated with Columbia University. “But how far your leadership takes this country, how far it takes this world, well, that will be up to you.”
“It's up to you to point out injustice. It's up to you to hold the system accountable. And sometimes upend it entirely. It's up to you to stand up and to be heard. To fight and lobby, to march, to organize, to vote. Don't be content to just sit back and watch,” Obama said.
In his speech he touted the powerful women within his administration and within his family, and encouraged Barnard’s class of 2012 to persevere.
“We know that our challenges are imminently solvable. The question is whether, together, we can muster the will in our own lives, in our common institutions, in our politics to bring about the changes we need,” Obama said.
The president named education, research, and investment in clean energy as being among those priorities, as well as the need to make sure women and men have equal rights and opportunities.
Obama also obliquely referred to a major talking point of the day: JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion loss. “We know that we're better off when there are rules that stop big banks from making bad bets with other people's money,” Obama said.