First lady: 'Women are smarter than men'

 

First ladies need to take advantage of their high-profile positions because "women are smarter than men," Michelle Obama joked Wednesday at a forum for spouses of U.S. and African leaders Wednesday in Washington.

“We can’t waste the spotlight. Change is needed. Life is short. And women are smarter than men,” the first lady said, adding that men "can't complain" because they're outnumbered.

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Michelle Obama was joined on stage by former first lady Laura Bush, who she hailed as "not just a role model, but also a friend." The pair discussed ways they could use their platform to improve outcomes for people in the U.S. and across the world.

Obama urged the leaders to “commit to new efforts to lift up our young people" and encouraged them to "fight" to improve outcomes for girls.

"In our work as first ladies, first spouses, can we find new ways to be more inclusive of these young people and show them that we truly value their voices?" Obama said.

Bush agreed, saying that "every life is precious."

“Only countries where all people are involved can be successful. When we look around the world and we see counties where half of the population is marginalized, we usually see countries that are failing,” she said.

Obama said first spouses should do "everything in their power" to engage future leaders.

"We need to spend a lot of time with them, more time listening — and I mean really listening — to their voices, to their views so that we can understand the challenges that they’re facing through their eyes. And we need to learn from their experiences and from their expertise," she said.

The pair also joked about some of the downsides of their jobs, and efforts as mothers. The current first lady said she wanted to encourage her children to use social media such as Instagram to highlight "something important" and not just pictures of "their food."

Obama also noted that the first ladies faced "slings and arrows" even though it was their husbands who sought public office.

“We’re elected by one man,” Bush joked.

The current first lady appeared to make a veiled reference to current impeachment talk in Washington after it was observed first ladies couldn't be fired.

"I guess we'll see," she quipped. 

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