President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at The Associated Press luncheon during the ASNE Convention, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama says women should not be reduced to a political interest group but rather respected as a driving force in the economy.
Obama spoke at a White House forum on women's issues as debate intensifies about the role women will be play in choosing the next president.
National polling shows Obama holds a double-digit advantage among women over the Republican front-runner in the presidential race, Mitt Romney.
Obama says women's issues should be viewed more broadly as matters affecting whole families and the economic competitiveness of the nation
He said the matter is personal to him as someone who was raised by a single mother and who is helping to raise two daughters with his wife, Michelle.
Obama said when women are deprived opportunities, it diminishes the country.