Former first lady Michelle Obama continues to keep girls at the forefront of her mission as she resumes, using her powerful platform.
Obama, in a recent interview, talked about the Me Too movement and its impact, as well as the importance of girls now having to deal with the same issues.
“Change is not a direct smooth path. There’s going to be bumps and resistance,” she said on NBC’s “Today Show,” citing that many will be uneasy about the movement.
“There has been a status quo with the way women have been treated.”
Obama said that women have to say to men who are disturbed by the movement, “Sorry that you feel uncomfortable but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.”
“We have to think about the way we’re paving for our girls,” she added.
Referring to the 98 million adolescent girls not in school, she said “The stats show that when you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”
Obama has been working on international girls’ education, since 2015, in a project called Let Girls Learn, which remained with the White House when the Obamas departed.
Her new project, The Global Girls Alliance, grew from a 2013 conversation in the White House with Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai, then a teenager. Yousafzai’s work focuses on girls who are denied education for war, economic pressure, cultural norms and prejudice.
Announced on the International Day of the Girl via the Obama Foundation, the organization is partnering with nonprofits like She’s the First (which created the Girls First Network, a knowledge sharing community for girl-focused NGOs), Girl Up (which will ensure girls are connected to safe-spaces and girl-focused leadership), Girl’s Inc. (encourages girls to understand and represent global voices through Leadership and Community Action program), and Girl Scouts of the USA (that created a toolkit to learn about girls’ education from global and national perspectives).
GoFundMe will filter funds to six vetted organizations, seeking amounts from $5,000 to $50,000, at a time. When one project’s goal is reached, a new organization will take its place on GoFundMe.
The last time Obama became vocal about gender equality, she was responding to Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” and similar comments after the Billy Bush tape was revealed. Obama said it had “shaken me to my core.”
“This is not something that we can ignore,” Obama said in 2016. “This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women.”
Of the current times, Obama said, “I chose to engage because there’s no choice. The world is a, sadly, dangerous place for women and girls, and we see that again and again. Young women are tired of it. They’re tired of being undervalued, they’re tired of being disregarded, they’re tired of their voices not being invested in and heard.”
Reader Question: What do you think of Michelle Obama’s stance toward the men who find women speaking up in and around MeToo uncomfortable