Remarks by the Second Gentleman at a Conversation on Gender Equity and Sports in Auckland, New Zealand

July 20, 2023

[As prepared for delivery.]


Good afternoon, everyone!

On behalf of President Joe Biden, my wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, I want to thank you for the warm welcome.

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic events that unfolded this morning. We are praying for all those affected, and we give thanks to the brave first responders who took action on the ground.

I'm here in New Zealand because President Biden asked me to lead the presidential delegation to the FIFA Women's World Cup, which is great because I love soccer!

I played it, I coached it, and I refereed it.

As a soccer fan and a soccer dad who coached my own kids and was a referee in many games over the years – this is an amazing opportunity.

The entire world will be watching and celebrating the elite athletes who are playing in the women's world cup. These teams inspire boys, girls, and adults around the world – both on and off the field, and these games bring us all together.

They have also used their voices to fight for gender equality in sports including access to equal pay, accommodations and training facilities, and the same benefits as men.

The sad truth is that these inequities aren't just found on the sports field.

We're seeing discrimination against women and girls in schools, in the workplace, and in access to childcare and health care services.

This must end.

We need to put more women in positions of leadership, in government, in the military, and in business. The world will be a better place with more women leaders.

We know that when you lift up women, you lift up the status of families and communities, and all of society benefits. This is true politically – and it is true economically.

There's also a misconception that if women are succeeding, it's to the detriment of men.

But that's just not true. It is not an either or. When women succeed, we are all lifted up.

Advancing the status of women and girls takes all of us — including men and boys. There is power in allyship.

We all have a role to play in this important work.

Back home, I see President Biden and my wife, Vice President Harris, leading the fight every day, to empower women and girls.

My wife has traveled all around the world – from Southeast Asia to the continent of Africa – fighting to protect women's rights and invest in women entrepreneurs.

I see firsthand the warm reception she gets when I travel around the United States and the world. People of all ages always tell me what an inspiration Kamala is to them.

And while Kamala may be the first woman vice president of the United States, she won't be the last.

New Zealand has been a model for the entire world – with three female prime ministers, and I know that we can learn from that history.

We must have a future where women and men have full and equal opportunity. I will continue to do everything that I can to help achieve gender equality in the United States and around the world.

Today, you will all hear from inspiring, trailblazing women who are dedicating their careers to advancing gender equity, especially in sports.

As the Women's World Cup shows us, there are tremendous role models in sports who can inspire the next generation.

And I'm looking forward to hearing more from our great panelists.

Thank you.

Doug Emhoff, Remarks by the Second Gentleman at a Conversation on Gender Equity and Sports in Auckland, New Zealand Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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