Michelle Obama: 'Until we prioritise our girls, we won't tackle those other problems'
Michelle Obama delivered an empowering address to the spouses of African leaders at the US-Africa Leaders Summit
Thursday 07 August 2014
Speaking as part of the spousal programme of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Michelle Obama emphasised the need to prioritise women’s rights issues above other major concerns such as famine and disease. She believes the first step in effecting change lies in a global attitude shift in how women and girls are valued.
“Until we value women and girls, we won't tackle those other problems. Until we prioritise our girls and understand that they are as important and that their education is as important as the education of our sons, then we will have lots of work to do," said the First Lady.
Michelle Obama was joined by former First Lady Laura Bush, who seconded her opinion. "Only countries where all people are involved can be successful," said Mrs Bush.
"When we look around the world and see countries where half of the population is marginalised or left out, then we usually see countries that are failing."
Whilst president Obama welcomed leaders from across the African continent in a bid to strengthen ties with the region, the First Lady and her predecessor were confined to speaking to the largely female spouses of the visiting heads of state. However, both women expressed their belief that the position of First Lady is that of a leader in her own right, and encouraged the spouses attending the summit to embrace the platform they have been given.
Obama urged her audience not to “waste” their time in “this spotlight. It is temporary, life is short, and change is needed”. Jokingly, she added: “And women are smarter than men”, which was received with laughter and applause.
Laura Bush has previously hinted that the role of first spouse in the United States may radically change if a woman were to become president; questioning whether a man would stop working “as a lawyer, or whatever” in the event of his wife being elected.
The spousal programme of the US-African Leaders Summit was co-sponsored by the Bush Institute, and brought Obama and Bush on stage together for the second time. Last year they both addressed the wives of African leaders in Tanzania, where they expressed the difficulty of discussing important topics when the media is focusing on their hairstyles.
Michelle Obama’s message to the spouses of Africa’s leaders is a clear one: "We have to fight for our girls." The rest will follow.
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Bollywood actress Veena Malik sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy after appearing in mock TV wedding scene
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: You will need to be able to follow instructio...
£10000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest In...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London u...