President Barack Obama is pushing initiatives "to make sure our economy rewards the hard work of women."
"When women make less than men, that hurts their families, including their partners, their husbands, their kids" he said in remarks at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. "They've got less to get by on."
The president urged Congress to pass legislation to ensure paid leave and equal pay for women, and he defended his signature health care law as a means of reducing women's health care costs.
And he suggested that Congress might break its perennial gridlock if the ratio of male to female lawmakers “evened out a little bit.”
Democrats will need strong support from women, who supported Obama 55 percent to 44 percent in the 2012 election, to keep control of the U.S. Senate in this fall’s midterm elections.
The president said that, as the father of two daughters, the issue of economic opportunity for women is particularly poignant for him.
“I've got a personal stake in seeing women get ahead,” he joked. “First of all, women make up 80% of my household.”