President Obama speaks at Valencia College

Published On: Mar 20 2014 06:37:02 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2014 06:49:31 PM EDT

President Barack Obama visited Central Florida on Thursday to talk about the women and the challenges they face in this economy.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

President Barack Obama visited Central Florida on Thursday to talk about the women and the challenges they face in this economy.

[PICS: Obama arrives in Orlando]

Obama spoke at Valencia College with students and administration, highlighting the role of women in the U.S. economy in his discussion.

Classes weren't disrupted but parking lot G was closed and half of the spaces in parking lot F will be roped off until 4 p.m.

Obama is blending his economic and political pitches by calling for equal pay for women and for Congress to pass more family-friendly workplace policies.

Obama says women should get equal pay for equal work and says they should be able to have a baby without fear of losing a job. In his words, "This isn't 1958 -- it's 2014."

"As part of making sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American, I'm also coming here today to make sure our economy rewards the hard work of women," said Obama.

Obama made the gender-centered appeal Thursday during a political excursion into Florida. He spoke at Orlando's Valencia College, calling for better educational opportunities for women.

"I want to make sure my daughters are getting the same chances as men," said Obama. "I don't want them paid less for doing the same job as some guy's doing."

The president says Congress should get rid of policies that, in his words, "belong in a 'Mad Men' episode."

He notes that women are a minority in Congress and says that more would get done if, "you kind of evened that out a little bit."

During his brief address, the president urged Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that would make it illegal for employers to pay men and women differently.

According to a study commissioned by the White House, women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. But critics argue that pay gap may be more a result of occupation choice than gender discrimination.

"When women make less, it hurts their families," Obama said.

Thursday, the president continued his push for increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, which he says will help women. Obama also believes companies need to do a better job accommodating family demands.

"A woman deserves to take a day off to care for a sick child or parent without running into hardship," Obama said.

The president's speech did not provide many specifics on how to achieve that workplace equality.

However, the White House announced Thursday it will be hosting a series of roundtable discussions around the country about this issue. It will lead up to a summit on working families to be held at the White House this summer.

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