Michelle Obama is not going to stop until education for girls everywhere isn't a luxury. The First Lady wrote about girls' education for The Atlantic, where she said the issue stems from things like poor resource allocation, yes, but that it's perpetuated by cultures that treat girls as lesser than from the beginning. The most poignant quotes from Michelle Obama's essay on educating girls around the world make a convincing argument for why the issue is something the U.S. has a moral obligation to address.
Obama began the essay with a pretty striking fact: "62 million girls worldwide are not in school" right now, she wrote. She said that the problem is often framed as a matter of resources — that if we give girls scholarships, transportation, adequate bathrooms so they don't have to stay home or drop out when they get their periods, then we can help solve the "global girls' education crisis."
To help with the resource problem, Obama and the president launched the Let Girls Learn initiative, which helps provide all of the above resources while also educating girls in conflict areas and addressing HIV, according to her essay. Obama said that all of these material and circumstantial needs are important, but there are bigger, cultural problems that need fixing, according to The Atlantic:
Obama's words were spot on, and she said that she will be presenting a similar argument when she travels to the Middle East next week. She said she will urge developing nations to challenge laws that turn the other way from (or even condone) practices like genital cutting and mutilation, forced marriage, and marital rape. She said that the U.S. is evidence that people need to challenge unjust laws to change a culture, but that can't happen if women are allowed to be beaten for speaking up:
Obama said that changing a culture so that it empowers young women instead of silencing them has positive tangible impacts:
Obama wrote that when girls have the opportunity to become educated, they can better advocated for their needs an stand up against injustice. The education of girls comes full circle with economic and health impacts, but it's also important simply because girls are human beings who deserve the right to an education so that they can lead the lives they want. For Obama, educating girls is a moral issue:
The girls Obama has met while traveling for the Let Girls Learn initiative have shown her just why she can't stop fighting, and her passion is contagious:
Obama said that she will continue her work abroad, by telling world leaders about the power of investing in girls' education. But it's clear that Obama thinks Americans should do more work to show that girls around the world ought to be valued "as human beings," and she's totally right: