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.
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 5 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...
£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...