Female influences on Obama.

// 8 November 2008

Yesterday’s Guardian features Kira Cochrane’s profile of the key female figures in the President-elect’s life, including his grandmother:

Born in 1922, [Madelyn] Dunham was raised in Kansas, and worked as an aircraft inspector during the second world war, before studying at the University of California, Berkeley. When her husband’s job took the family to the 50th state, she went to work at the Bank of Hawaii and, at a time when women were in an even smaller minority in finance than today, she become one of the bank’s first female vice presidents.

his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro:

She gained a PhD in Indonesian anthropology and helped to build a microfinance programme in Indonesia that has been described as her greatest professional achievement, a network of small loans for the country’s impoverished entrepreneurs.

and, of course, his wife:

Michelle followed her brother to Princeton and then went to Harvard Law School and on to a corporate law firm, Sidley and Austin. There she met Barack Obama, when he arrived for a summer job. She was initially his mentor and it apparently took some time for him to persuade her to go on their first date – a trip to see Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing.

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