Michelle Obama is bringing sexy back by giving young girls a voice and empowering them to take control of their education.
On Tuesday, September 29th, in New York City at the Apollo Theater, 62 million girls from around the world met with First Lady Michelle Obama, as she joined the Let Girls Learn global conversation. The Let Girls Learn event was hosted by Glamour Magazine.
The Glamour magazine-sponsored panel discussion featured actress Charlize Theron, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a 16-year-old activist from the Philippines named Nurfahada. All of the girls who attended the event who are currently not receiving any form of education, were allowed to ask these group of women questions regarding their future.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that between 2011 to 2012 there were a total of 1,840 schools that had closed in the U.S. School closings for the 2011-12 year were higher than the numbers represented in the 2000-01 year.
First Lady Obama addressed her thoughts saying, “For me, this is personal. When I think about those 62 million girls that aren’t in school, I think about myself. I think about my daughters.”
In other parts of the world, many girls are still struggling for the access of education. For girls in India, the importance of education is not a high demand within their male-driven cultural society.
“If we want to end global poverty, if we want to improve the plight of our country, educating girls is the key to all of that. It just is.” First Lady Obama said.
One-third of girls over the age of six that live in Haiti do not attend school and sources have stated that the numbers are higher for those living in remote areas of the country. Extreme poverty within Haiti has made it difficult for families to send their children to school, as well as the lack of resources offered to help these families.
In other countries such as Afghanistan,Pakistan, and Cambodia, many of their women and young girls are faced with risk of losing their lives, physical violence, and sexual assault for obtaining an education.
The First Lady also highlighted why girls should focus on the books and leave the boys who aren’t into smart girls alone.
“There is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education” she said, and then eventually joking with the attendees saying, ” If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age , I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States.”
Getting through those 4 years of high school can be tough. The period of adolescence is a confusing time for both teenage girls and boys. The first lady encouraged students to remain patient and to not let some of the smaller stressors in life discourage them from learning.
You don’t want to be with a boy who’s too stupid to know how smart you are. We have to raise our own bars. You cannot be successful when you are around people who drag you down,” Obama said. “You don’t want to look back when you’re 60 and regret that you just didn’t have the patience to push through these four years of mess.”
Michelle Obama continued saying, “You’ll have the opportunity , and you’ll have control of your life to make choices. And you won’t have to listen to your parents, because you’ll have a job and you’ll pay your own bills. You want that freedom. Freedom comes later.Now you invest. Now you put up with. Now you be patient. Because if you don’t do it now, then you’ll be living this cramped-up life for the rest of your life.”
Before the Let Girls Learn event, Michelle Obama made a special guest appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert , Monday night. The First Lady voiced that the #62MillionGirls campaign is how she will be spending her time after leaving from the White House. With just a little over a year left in the ‘White House’, the First Lady is aiming to continue her commitment to educating youth around the world. Let Girls Learn was launched as a government-wide initiative by First Lady Obama and President Obama back in March.
Check out the promo video below.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Digest of Education Statistics, 2013 (NCES 2015-011),Table 216.95.).