Michelle Obama
Former US first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

Michelle Obama took a subtle swipe at US President Donald Trump while speaking at the Obama Foundation International Summit this week. During a discussion with poet Elizabeth Alexander, Obama stressed the importance of thinking twice before tweeting.

Making a point to clarify that she was not "talking about anybody in particular", the former US first lady said that "words matter" and people should recognise that Twitter is a "powerful weapon".

"When you have a voice, you just can't use it any kind of way, you know? This whole 'tell it like it is' business, that's nonsense," Obama said at the inaugural event in Chicago on Wednesday, 1 November. "You don't just say what's on your mind. You don't tweet every thought. Most of your first initial thoughts are not worthy of the light of day."

She added that the social media platform is not something you would simply pass to a 10-year-old to use. "No you don't. You need to think and spell it right and have good grammar."

Obama also touched on the widespread issue of sexual harassment that has been making headlines of late. "When we think about women in particular, we ask them to speak up. We ask them to speak their mind. We ask them to just say 'no', to speak out against sexual harassment," she said.

"But if we don't teach our young girls to speak at an early age, that doesn't just happen. It takes practice to have a voice. You have to use it again, and again, and again before you can say 'no'. Or 'stop'. Or 'don't touch me'."

The 53-year-old explained that one of her major jobs as a mother was to bring up her daughters Malia and Sasha to be "sturdy" and "able to exist... in a world that is dangerous to women".

In her opinion, women were partially responsible for "protecting our men too much so they feel a little entitled, you know, a little self righteous".

"The problem is we love our boys and we raise our girls, you know. We raise them to be strong and sometimes we take care not to hurt men, I think we pay for that a little bit" she said. "It's powerful to have strong men, but what does that strength mean?"