SEATTLE--Women have made great strides, so they make up half the workforce, but still face problems with lower wages, President Obama told participants in a "back yard discussion."
Women, like men, have trouble getting loans, he said. They know that the middle class has been under pressure for a decade, not just during the recession.
The economy isn't shrinking any more, and jobs are growing, however slowly he said.
"We've still got a long way to go," he said. "It's going to take us some time to turn it around"
Jody Hall of Cupcake Royale, a Seattle bakery, said she's been able to expand to a fourth and fifth location in the last 18 months, adding 30 employees, in part because she could get a much more favorable rate than at a bank.
Asked by a supporter of health care reform why more isn't being done to defend that program, Obama said that as more people see the benefits, it will become more popular.
"We're going to look back 20 years from now and say this was the right thing to do."
He also defended stimulus spending: "People have a legitimate concern about the debt and deficits...It did cost money and added to the deficit. Had we not taken those steps, had we dipped into a depression, the deficit would have been even worse."