Top 5 Quotes from First Lady Michelle Obama on Girls’ Education

Education , Events , Supporters in Action

I got to celebrate International Women’s Day in an incredible way this year: by joining several Girl Up leaders for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama!

The day was brimming with exciting surprises at every corner. First, we headed to the White House to meet with several amazing and inspiring women, including: EVP Marketing and Communications Director for Barneys New York, Charlotte Blechman; Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama, Tina Tchen; and founder of the Girls’ Lounge, Shelley Zalis.

After learning from these women, we got to meet the First Lady herself! She shook my hand and thanked me for my work supporting girls’ education globally. Then – get this – we rode atop a custom Let Girls Learn double decker bus as a part of Mrs. Obama’s motorcade to an event celebrating the one year anniversary of the Let Girls Learn initiative. When we arrived, we met with representatives from organizations working to promote girls’ health, education, and equality – and we got to shake hands with the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

But the highlight of the experience was hearing the First Lady deliver one of her most impassioned speeches to date. Mrs. Obama’s time in the White House may be coming to a close, but her efforts to raise awareness for the causes she truly believes in are only ramping up, and this is especially evident in her enthusiasm when speaking about the Let Girls Learn initiative.

Here are the top 5 most memorable and inspirational quotes from the day:

“…[T]he more I traveled and met with girls and learned from experts about this issue, the more I realized that the barrier to girls’ education isn’t just resources. It’s also about attitudes and beliefs – the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education; that women should have no role outside the home; that their bodies aren’t their own, their minds don’t really matter, and their voices simply shouldn’t be heard.”

“The ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table — all of that starts with education.”

“[Girls] know that education is their only path to self-sufficiency.  It is their only chance to shape their own fate rather than having the limits of their lives dictated to them by others.”

“I’m passionate about this because I truly see myself in these girls – in their hunger, in their burning determination to rise above their circumstances and reach for something more.  And I know that many of you do, too.”

“We’re in this together.  Because these girls are our girls.  They are us.  They each have the spark of something extraordinary inside of them just like our daughters – and our sons – and their fate is very much our responsibility.”

This is a guest post by Jesse Catir. Jesse is a 19-year-old freshman at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.