Obama Calls Nancy Pelosi and Planned Parenthood CEO ‘Real-Life Superheroes’

cecile richards (L) nancy-pelosi AP
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards were among the women President Barack Obama praised at a Women’s History Month reception at the White House Wednesday.

After welcoming the group of women to the White House, the president thanked Marvel Comic Books editor Sana Amanat for her work in organizing the event.

“Thank you, Sana, for your incredible work,” he said. “Ms. Marvel may be your comic book creation, but I think for a lot of young boys and girls, Sana is a real-life superhero.”

“And there are a lot of them in this room, so I want to acknowledge a couple of them,” Obama continued. “First of all, we’ve got Cecile Richards in the house, making sure that women’s health care is on the front burner. We’ve got America’s first female NFL Coach, Dr. Jennifer Welter. We have some outstanding members of Congress, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.”

Obama noted what he considers to be hallmarks of his tenure that have contributed to progress in the area of women’s equality:

Thanks to your efforts, the first law I signed when I came into office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (Applause.) We have expanded paid sick days and equal pay for more families, created more opportunities for women small business owners. We passed the Affordable Care Act, which covers women’s preventive care — (applause) — including contraception — that says women can’t be charged more for health insurance just because they’re women. (Applause.) We are fighting hard against campus sexual assault. (Applause.)

Around the world, we lifted the global gag rule, developed a strategy to combat gender-based violence. And I am incredibly proud that I’ve appointed more female appointees and judges than any other President. (Applause.) In fact, the majority of my senior advisors are women. (Applause.) Including on my national security team. They are a tough bunch. (Laughter.)

Obama continued that more work needs to be done to bring about equality for women, including ending both violence toward women and ending “practices like child marriage.” He expressed specific concern about the “epidemic of online harassment” of “women gamers,” who he said “face harassment and stalking and threats of violence from other players.”

The president continued he would like to see more women seeking higher public office and in positions of power.

“I’m not stereotyping here,” Obama said. “But I’m pretty sure that if we had more women in charge things would work better.”

“In the space of one generation, women like those in this room have moved mountains,” he added. “They know you can be the Speaker of the House because they’ve seen Nancy Pelosi. Right? They know that they can draw comic books, or can direct film, or can be an astronaut, or do whatever they want.”