ABC News' Mary Compton reports: In the Great Hall at the Department of Labor, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a crowd of 200 women (and a few men) celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Women’s Bureau. The Women’s Bureau, a division of the Department of Labor, was created to increase workforce and workplace parity. It was founded in 1920, one month before women were given the right to vote.
The First Lady said she is proud that the first bill her husband signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009. She said that, “despite progress there are still stubborn inequalities,” including unequal wages and the daily juggling act of a having a career and being a mother. She drew a laugh when she added that this “can often leave women feeling as if they are burning the candle at both ends and the middle.”
Mrs. Obama broadened this idea by quoting an early bulletin from the Women’s Bureau which read “America will be as strong as her women.” She emphasized this idea adding, “for too long, policies that help people balance work and family responsibilities have been seen as niceties for women, rather than as the necessity that can benefit all of us, men and women alike. “