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Michelle Obama: 'I Wish that Girls Could Fail as Bad as Men Do and Be OK'

The former first lady says women execs need to "really shake it up" when they get a seat at the table.

At the United State of Women Summit in Los Angeles on Saturday, former First Lady Michelle Obama talked with actor and activist Tracee Ellis Ross, star of "Black-ish," about gender equality.


Obama expressed that girls, and women, are held to a higher standard than men, who could fail repeatedly without repercussions. Some even "fail up" and become president.

"I wish that girls could fail as bad as men do and be okay," she said. "Because let me tell you, watching men fail up — it is frustrating. It's frustrating to see a lot of men blow it and win. And we hold ourselves to these crazy, crazy standards."

Obama also said that often women in the workforce "have to take some risks for our girls."

"So many of us have gotten ourselves at the table, but we're still too grateful to be at the table to really shake it up," she said.

"That's not a criticism, because for so many, just getting to the table was so hard, so you're just holding on. But now we have to take some risks for our girls ... just holding onto our seats at the table won't be enough to help our girls be all that they can be."

Women executives from Hilton ( No. 10), The Hershey Company (No. 33), General Motors (GM) (No. 31) and Humana (No. 48) discussed strategies that have helped shake things up and move women into leadership roles at their companies during the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies event on May 1 in New York City.

For example, GM CEO Mary Barra, the first woman to lead an auto manufacturer, began her career at the company as a co-op student, and Alicia Boler-Davis started as a manufacturing engineer and now is executive vice president of global manufacturing.

Related Story: Best Practices for Moving Women into Senior Leadership Roles

DiversityInc COO Carolynn Johnson asked panelist Laura Jones, Global HR Director of GM's Cadillac, to share why the company is successful in developing women's talent.

"It's a behavior we are all accountable to own," Jones said.

She explained that Barra appointed Boler-Davis as chair of the company's women's advisory board.

And Boler-Davis "says boldly, we as women leaders in the company have to pay it forward," Jones said. "It's a behavior that we have to own and it's on us all to engage with women in the business and actually take them forward with us."

She continued, "Formally, Mary gathers in all the women senior leaders on a frequent basis. And she opens up the discussion of 'Where are you engaging with certain women in the organization? What exposure are you giving them? What education can we give them?'"

Jones said that she, herself, is a recipient of that kind of mentoring at GM. She also added that the company has women's boot camps, which are run through manufacturing, global product development sales, service and marketing.

At the United State of Women Summit on Saturday, Obama also criticized the role of women in electing President Donald Trump.

"In light of this last election, I'm concerned about us, as women, and what we think about ourselves and about each other," she said. "What is going on in our heads where we let that happen. So I do wonder what are young girls dreaming about, if we're still there?"

Obama continued, "When the most qualified person running was a woman and look what we did instead, I mean, that says something about where we are, if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar that we don't have for men ... if we're not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president, compared to what?"

Watch a video from the United State of Women Summit:

The Conversation

Sheriffs Left Two Mental Health Patients Chained in a Van to Drown in Hurricane Florence Flooding

The deputies tried to help the patients "for a long period of time," but finally took refuge on top of their vehicle as the waters climbed higher.

Reuters

Two female mental-health patients in South Carolina have drowned after the transport van, where they were being held flooded on Tuesday.

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Wale, a rapper and record producer, stated two members of an American Airlines crew told him "he didn't belong in first class" and, allegedly, threatened to call the police.

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Beto O'Rourke Calls for Amber Guyger to Be Fired From Dallas Police Force

"I don't understand given the actions how anyone can come to any other conclusion," O'Rourke said.

Beto O'Rourke, the outspoken Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful, suggested at a rally on Friday that Amber Guyger should be fired from the Dallas Police Force.

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Border Patrol Supervisor Arrested for Serial Murders

Courageous sex worker escapes and alerts police. "We consider this man to be a serial killer who was preying on one victim after another," Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said.

Courtesy of MySanAntonio.com

U.S. Border Patrol hasn't had the best reputation when it comes to immigration issues, building trust among the people and community engagement.

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97-Year-Old Black Woman Has Been an Election Day Poll Worker for 79 Years

Laura Mitnaul Wooten, honored during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual conference, urged Black people to vote in midterm elections.

Left to right: Chair of NNPA Dorothy R. Leavell; Laura Mitnaul Wooten; and NNPA President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. / DIVERSITYINC

Laura Mitnaul Wooten plans to head to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote in the midterm elections, and to work, as she's done every Election Day for the past 79 years, consecutively. Wooten said that the right to vote, which so many suffered and even died for, is currently being taken for granted.

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GM Student Corps Celebrates 6 Years of Impacting Young Lives

The Student Corps, an extension of GM's commitment to education, hired 150 students from 15 high schools.

GENERAL MOTORS

By Lester Booker Jr.

In its sixth year, General Motors Student Corps matched teams of 10 high school interns with retired GM executives and college interns for life skills development and career preparation. As part of their 10-week journey, students learned the value of teamwork, leadership, goal-setting and community service.

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Update: Botham Jean Celebrated Amid the Urging of Officer Guyger to Come Clean

Many called for justice. One speaker at the funeral said: Botham Shem Jean was not a silhouette.

Thousands gathered Thursday afternoon to celebrate the life of Botham "Bo" Shem Jean in the sanctuary of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson. But undertones of hurt, and a demand of justice for Jean, were present.

Many spoke of Jean's character and faith, and the family's rearing of an "exemplary student, mentor and teacher," but among the prayers and remarks were calls for justice.

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Another CBS Big Wig is Out — '60 Minutes' Executive Producer Jeff Fager Has Been Fired

The last member of CBS' broadcasting "Rat Pack" appears to be out, as well.

Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the long-running award-winning news show "60 Minutes" was fired Wednesday.

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