The former First Lady launches the Global Girls Alliance on the International Day of the Girl Child
Michelle Obama may be done with politics — but she’s still dedicated to making a difference.
The former First Lady shot down rumors that she’s running for office on the “Today” show on Thursday — the International Day of the Girl Child — to announce her new Global Girls Alliance to support adolescent girls’ education. The initiative coinciding with the day dedicated to addressing gender inequality and empowering young women will support more than 1,500 grassroots organizations around the world to take action to help girls overcome the challenges they face in their local communities, such as limited access to education and resources, or being married before turning 18.
“The future of our world is only as bright as our girls … nearly 100 million girls are missing out on school entirely, and a lifetime of opportunity,” Obama told “Today” anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie.
“Think about our daughters, all of their promise, all they have in them. That is true for millions of girls around the country, and they are battling through misrepresentation, violence and stigma to get their way into a classroom,” she continued. “So we want to play a role in building an alliance of young people who are out there doing the work on the ground. And we want to give them an opportunity to network with one another, because working on these issues out in the world can be lonely. They need to have a link to resources and training and technological support. The alliance is going to provide that for them.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 11, 2018
The 54-year-old mother of daughters Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17, also wrote about her passion to promote girls’ education in a CNN op-ed on Thursday. “Equally pernicious is something they’re taught from an early age — the belief that because they’re girls, they’re simply unworthy of an education,” she wrote. “It’s the same toxic mindset that keeps girls here in the United States from believing they can become computer scientists or CEOs. And it’s a mindset that together, we’ve got to change.”
Indeed, the United Nations notes that by age 6, girls already consider boys more suited to “really, really smart” activities than their own gender. A quarter of young people, mostly female, are neither working nor getting an education or job training. So when the world’s 600 million adolescent girls enter the workforce during the next decade, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in unregulated jobs that are vulnerable to low pay, exploitation and abuse.
Obama, whose memoir “Becoming” hits shelves next month, also sidestepped rumors of running for office in 2020 and beyond. “Absolutely not,” she said on the “Today” show. One thing you learn as a woman, is you understand where your voice works best, where you want to operate, what space you want to be in. I never wanted to be a politician … I want to serve. I want to do work. I want to be out there, but there’s so many ways to make an impact.”
And she advised the girls in the audience to find their own passion, as well. “Don’t let somebody tell you what they want you to do, what they want you to be,” she said. “It’s up to you to determine what’s your message and how you want to use your voice. This is how I want to work in the world: I want to work on positive issues with girls around the world.”
To learn more about the Global Girls Alliance and how you can be involved, or to donate money to support girls across the globe, visit GlobalGirlsAlliance.org/donate.
And to learn more about the International Day of the Girl Child or to make a donation to the #DayOfTheGirl, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/.
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