First lady addresses women’s education

Michelle Obama DNC 06Sept2012

Stephanie Roque/Contributing writer


On our nation’s birthday, Michelle Obama appropriately shifted the meaning of independence from our country to a growing dilemma occurring globally: independence for women, specifically in terms of education.

The first lady took to CNN on Monday, July 4, to talk about research from her widely known initiative, Let Girls Learn: 62 Million Girls. The initiative “seeks to help the more than 62 million girls around the world who are not in school– half of whom are adolescent – go to school and stay in school.”

Whether it’s due to a lack of financial or travel resources, these girls are being denied one of the most basic rights: an education.

In today’s global economy, an education is often seen as an important key to success. Without an education, it is statistically proven the individual will most likely face times of hardship throughout his or her life.

According to CNN, women who receive an education are more likely to “marry later, have lower rates of infant and maternal mortality, and are more likely to immunize their children and less likely to contract malaria and HIV.”  

The first lady’s foundation focuses on girls living in areas where the idea of a woman receiving an education is often dismissed. Social norms and attitudes revolve around the belief that women are not worthy of an education, and are sold into marriage to begin bearing children, when the girls are still considered children themselves.

Obama details how receiving an education can save these girls from a life of very limited opportunity. By receiving an education, these young women are filled with the hope and possibility of a brighter and better future. A future lacking the restraints of close-minded individuals, and one filled with endless opportunities: an independent life.

Obama’s article depicts the life of two young girls living in Morocco and Liberia. Ralphina, who is living in Liberia, lives day to day in a home where the family income is less than two dollars a day, which results in the family being unable to educate their children. With teen pregnancy rates high and the dangerous commute to school, girls are discouraged from attending class.

Despite all this, along with the possibility of sexual harassment and assault at school, young Ralphina still manages to attend class every day after cooking for her family and going to the market in pursue of her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse.

With global efforts to make women’s education a more accessible dream, I support the first lady’s outlook on finding ways to give these girls the chance to pursue their lifelong ambitions.

Being a part of a globally-involved institution such as FIU, I strongly encourage all Panthers to take strides in making the world a better place for not only our fellow sisters, but brothers in terms of making it possible for everyone to achieve success.

To find out more ways to help the cause and on the initiative’s growing success with new efforts being directed to Africa’s education system for women, visit



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image by Mike Baird, retrieved from Flickr:

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