Michelle Obama has penned a powerful, poignant essay concerning the need for girls around the world to have equal access to an education.
On Monday, Nov. 2, the long time advocate of girls’ education released an essay in The Atlantic where she addressed her concerns regarding the 62 million girls worldwide who are not in school, and why that needs to change. FLOTUS wrote that while “a failure to invest money in educating girls” is part of the problem, it’s also bigger than that:
Scholarships, bathrooms, and safe transportation will only go so far if societies still view menstruation as shameful and shun menstruating girls. Or if they fail to punish rapists and reject survivors of rape as ‘damaged goods.’ Or if they provide few opportunities for women to join the workforce and support their families, so that it’s simply not financially viable for parents struggling with poverty to send their daughters to school.
She went on to discuss the “broader cultural beliefs and practices” that prolong the crisis, but closed her essay with hope. “As a first lady, a mother, and a human being, I cannot walk away from these girls, and I plan to keep raising my voice on their behalf for the rest of my life,” she wrote. “I plan to keep urging world leaders to invest in their potential and create societies that truly value them as human beings.”
Obama’s call to action follows shortly after she and her husband, President Barack Obama, launched the Let Girls Learn initiative, which seeks to aid in providing educational resources for girls. The initiative will fund girls’ leadership camps, educate girls in conflict zones, and address poverty, HIV, and other issues that stop girls from attending school. And while the road to ending this crisis may not be an easy one, Obama added, “We know that legal and cultural change is possible because we’ve seen it in countries around the world, including our own.”