(WASHINGTON) -- “We’ve come a long way, ladies,” first lady Michelle Obama declared from the East Room of the White House Tuesday evening, commemorating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and celebrating Women’s History Month.
“One hundred years ago we would have never imagined that we’d be standing here in the East Room of the White House celebrating this day with this administration, so we have reason to celebrate.”
Following her visit to the State Department Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama said that events like Tuesday's remind the country “that we’re here because of us.”
“Because we as a nation benefit from every girl whose potential is fulfilled. From every woman whose talent is tapped. We benefit as a nation,” she said.
The first lady said that countries around the globe too are “more prosperous and more peaceful” when women are more equal and have the rights and opportunities they deserve.
Mrs. Obama said the work around the world and across the U.S. still remains, noting that women are now the majority of college graduates and make up nearly half of America’s work force.
“We gotta get paid more for it,” she added to applause in the audience, noting that they will continue working to close the pay gap.
“We are breaking barriers and succeeding in careers that our mothers and grandmothers never could have imagined,” Mrs. Obama said, “and as more opportunities have become available to women, that hasn’t just enriched our own lives -- as we all know it has enriched the life of this nation.”
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio