Obama Urges Women to Grow More Involved in Politics: 'Men Have Been Getting on My Nerves Lately'

Barack Obama
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July 18, 2018

Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday he wanted women to get more involved in politics and social movements because men "have been getting on my nerves lately."

Speaking with young African leaders at a town hall event in Johannesburg, South Africa, Obama said men were "violent" and "bullying."

"Women in particular, by the way, I want you to get more involved," he said. "Because men have been getting on my nerves lately. Every day I read the newspaper, and I just think—brothers, what’s wrong with you guys? What's wrong with us? I mean, we're violent, we're bullying. You know, just not handling our business."

"So I think empowering more women on the continent— that right away is going to lead to some better policies," he said.

Obama also singled out "men" as being susceptible to being greedy and power-hungry as he raised concerns about the rise of authoritarianism around the globe in a lengthy speech Tuesday in South Africa.

"History also shows the power of fear. History shows the lasting hold of greed and the desire to dominate others in the minds of men. Especially men," he said.

Obama didn't single out President Donald Trump by name in the speech, but his remarks were taken as implicit criticism of his successor's approach at the White House.

Obama also explicitly rejected leftist identity politics in the same speech, urging people not to dismiss opposing voices for reasons like they're "white" or "male."

During the 2016 campaign, however, Obama accused men who weren't voting for Hillary Clinton of sexism, remarking, "there's a reason why we haven't had a woman president before."