First Ladies are just as important

First Ladies are just as important

Simran Devidasani

Whenever we think of change and moving forward, we think of our presidential elections. With each new president comes four new years filled with change in economic, foreign and domestic policies. While we reflect on America’s growth with respect to our successful and unsuccessful presidential administrations, we often neglect to consider one of the driving forces of this change: our first ladies.

From Martha Custis Washington to Michelle Obama, the first lady has always had an influential role in government, but one that has been routinely overlooked.

Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move campaign under the Obama Presidency, in which she advocated for exercise. First ladies have been known to create campaigns for social change. Photo taken from the White House website.

Although the first lady is not elected by the people or the Electoral College, and has no salary, she still maintains a highly respected role in government. She is an essential part of government that goes hand-in-hand with the President, and therefore, needs to appeal to the people as well.

Her importance is such that she even has her own personal staff that works behind her, which consists of  the press secretary, a white house social secretary and even a chief floral designer. The first lady needs a staff because she oversees the running of the White House and is active in press, social affairs and political issues.

Take Michelle Obama for example — a graduate  of Princeton and Harvard, as well as a lawyer and mother of two. She launched the Let’s Move campaign under the Obama administration with Dr. Jill Biden. Not only has she inspired many and made the Obama administration more relatable, but she has also become an idol and phenomenon in the fashion industry. Michelle Obama’s outstanding community service and work on issues like child obesity and our military, mark her as a positive influence. That label has played a huge role as to how the Obama administration is perceived. The first lady takes on more than just a traditional role as head of aesthetics in the White House; she’s a role model to the rest of the administration.

Another example is Abigail Fillmore, whose love for education and knowledge helped establish the famous White House library. First lady Sarah Polk crafted some of her husband’s greatest speeches, many of which, even today, are still considered influential. Eleanor Roosevelt used her power to fight for New Deal proposals, civil rights and women’s rights.

All of these first ladies endorsed campaigns for their own beliefs. Recently, Michelle Obama has launched various campaigns to support families of those who are in the military, women who are struggling to balance their career and family, community service and education.

As Abigail Adams said, “Remember the Ladies!” Although our President is the face of our country, we shouldn’t forget the Ladies who also play a big role in the administration. After all, Ladies First.