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      President Obama stresses economic importance of women

      President Obama stresses economic importance of women

      President Barack Obama on Friday stressed that women should not be overlooked as a driving force of the economy.

      Speaking at a White House forum on women's issues, Obama said that women's issues should be seen as a broader economic and national issue, saying it affects the competitiveness of the country. The forum comes as national polling shows Obama holding a double-digit lead among women over the Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.

      Obama says women's issues should be viewed more broadly as they{}affect both{}families as well as the{}economic competitiveness of the nation.

      "Right now, women are a growing number of breadwinners in the household. But they're still earning just 77 cents for every dollar a man doeseven less if you're an African American or Latina woman. Overall, a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career," Obama said.

      He pushed for ending pay discrimination, saying it is "about far more than simple fairness... When more women are bringing home the bacon, but bringing home less of it than men who are doing the same work, that weakens families, it weakens communities, it's tough on our kids, it weakens our entire economy."

      The president stressed that the issue was of personal importance to him, as he was raised by a single mother. He also honored the work of his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, saying "once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a careerand something that could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot."

      Present at the forum, alongside the president, were some local area participants: Karma Cottman, who is the Executive Director of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Tracy Munoz, the Wellness Coordinator of Norfolk Public Schools.