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"Breaking Barriers in Every Field"

President Obama spoke at a National Women's Law Center event last night honoring the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders and celebrating strides toward equality for women:

But even after all this time, my wish for my daughters and yours remains the same. I want them to go out into a world where there is no limit on how big they can dream or how high they can reach. And being here with all of you gives me hope. Because although this journey is far from over, today our daughters live in a world that is fairer and more equal than it was six years ago—a world where more doors are open to them than ever before.

Today, for the first time in history, our daughters can see three women sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land. They can come to the White House and see that the top four lawyers on my staff—some of the sharpest legal minds I’ve ever come across—are women. They can read about the extraordinary leadership of a woman in the House of Representatives who went by the title “Madame Speaker.” And they can turn on the news and see that one of the most formidable presidential candidates we’ve ever seen has become one of the best Secretaries of State that this country has ever known.

Today, women make up almost half of our workforce and the majority of students in our colleges and graduate schools. And women are breaking barriers in every field, from science and business to sports and the armed forces.

Today, thanks to the health care reform that many of you helped pass, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, or charge women more because they are more likely to incur costs for things like childbirth. Those same companies must cover the cost of preventive services like mammograms, domestic violence counseling and contraception. And we’re making sure that women in the military and veterans get the care they need.

Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Lilly Ledbetter, it’s easier for women to demand equal pay for equal work. We passed tax credits that are keeping more women out of poverty and helping them reach the middle class. Companies are being encouraged to make workplaces more flexible so women don’t have to choose between being a good employee and a good parent. And one of the first things I did after taking office was to create a White House Council on Women and Girls to make sure that every agency in the federal government considers the needs of women and girls in every decision they make.

This is progress. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the women’s movement in this country, it’s that there is always more work to do. There are always more challenges to meet.

Click here to learn more about the ways President Obama and his administration are working to support equal rights for all Americans.

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