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Barack Obama: 'If every nation on earth was run by women' for 2 years, things would be better

Barack Obama
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Former president Barack Obama attributed most of the world's problems to "old men" on Monday during a private speech in Singapore, according to BBC News.

"If you look at the world and look at the problems, it's usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way," the 44th president reportedly said during his speech, which centered around leadership.

He added that women "are not perfect" but are "indisputably better" than men.

"I'm absolutely confident that, for two years, if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything — living standards and outcomes," Obama reportedly said.

There is some research to support Obama's theory.

For example, research has found that among racially and ethnically diverse countries (characteristics generally negatively correlated with economic growth due to bias, discrimination and conflict), "female leaders were significantly more likely than male leaders to have fast-growing economies," Susan E. Perkins of the University of Illinois at Chicago Liautaud Graduate School of Business and Katherine W. Phillips of Columbia Business School wrote in February in Harvard Business Review. Among the most diverse countries, those led by women had an average of 5.4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the subsequent year, as compared to those led by men, which had an average of 1.1% GDP growth, according to Perkins and Phillips.

"The important takeaway here," wrote Perkins and Phillips, "is that female leaders are associated with economic outcomes that suggest that they may be better able to unlock the benefits of diversity at the country level than their male counterparts." (The researchers cited former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as exemplars.)

Obama has previously shared similar thoughts on women in leadership.

In July 2018, he urged more women to get involved in politics, saying "men have been getting on my nerves lately" at an Obama Foundation Town Hall in South Africa.

"Every day I read the newspaper and I just think like, '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," Obama said. "So I think empowering more women on the continent — that right away is going to lead to some better policies," he said.

And in December 2017, Obama said more women should be put in positions of power "because men seem to be having some problems these days," during an invitation-only event in Paris, AFP reported.

Obama said that a great leader questions themselves and those around them, asking things like, "How can I make the people around me better? How do I empower them? How do I build a team where everyone's pulling together to get something done?"

And in his eyes, women are better at these things: "[N]ot to generalize, but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialization," he said.

During the speech in Singapore, Obama was also asked whether he would consider a return to politics, according to the BBC, and said that it's important to know when to step aside.

"You are there to do a job, but you are not there for life," Obama reportedly said. "You are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self importance or your own power."

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