During her tenure as First Lady of the White House from 2009 – 2017 and afterward, Michelle Obama has been an advocate for girls’ rights across the globe. Obama spent much of her career prior to The White House working as an attorney, developer, organizer and educator, dedicated to the progression of local communities and neighborhoods in her hometown of Chicago, with a special focus on youth.
During her time spent in Office, she worked with her husband, President Barack Obama, and other political members to begin several initiatives to bring education and opportunities to underprivileged girls in both America and abroad. To this day, Michelle Obama continues to spend her time working towards building a brighter future for girls worldwide. With such a lengthy career and personal life service concentrated on these issues, there have been countless times that Obama has inspired girls across the globe. Here are the top five moments:
1. When She and Husband Barack Obama launched the “Let Girls Learn”
In 2015, then-President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama launched “Let Girls Learn.” This initiative brought together various government agencies, corporations, and organizations to invest in multiple aspects of education for girls. The program asked countries around the world to contribute to the development of their education system so that girls were given equal access to education. In doing so, both Michelle Obama and her husband gave girls a voice worldwide, including those who may not have one.
2. When She Continued Her Education Efforts Through “The Global Girl Alliance”
Obama’s efforts to aid girls globally didn’t end when she left Office. In 2018, she launched the “Global Girl Alliance” to continue giving girls access to education. This organization differed from “Let Girls Learn” in that it directly asked individuals both in The United States and in other parts of the world to speak about their experience with education for girls. The program encourages those involved to give a presentation on their experiences and share their ideas for what the future will bring for young girls.
3. When She Spoke of Her Experience in Struggling to Gain Access to Education
Michelle Obama has been vocal about the struggles she faced during her childhood growing up in Chicago. “As a girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago, my access to a good education wasn’t always a guarantee,” she explained. She emphasized that, because of the long and difficult journey it took to eventually becoming educated at both Princetown and Harvard, she “Want(s) every girl on this planet to have the same opportunities that I’ve had.” The results in providing education to all girls includes “healthier children, higher salaries, and lower poverty rates.”
4. When She Joined Actress Charlize Theron and Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Promoting Girls
During a 2015 panel with two other girl advocates, actress Charlize Theron and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Obama gave some advice to all young girls who are on their way to achieving great things: “We have to raise our own bars. You won’t be successful hanging out with people who drag you down.” During the panel, she encouraged girls to promote their journey through social media for other girls around the world to see.
5. When She Imparted Her Wisdom in Her Book Becoming
With the 2019 release of her book, Becoming, a meditation on Obama’s life, came more inspirational and motivating quotes embracing one’s life and making the most of it:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end”.
For Michelle Obama, the path towards full equality for girls and education around the world is on-going. While it may not be an easy path, Obama has shown the world why all young girls deserve the chance to be the best they can be.