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Michelle Obama Stands Before the U.N. to Address State of Girls’ Education

26 SEP 2014
Career Path : Education News

Michelle Obama visits VA Central Office

At the third annual U.N. Global Education First Initiative event, Michelle Obama stood before an assembly to congratulate the U.N. for achieving their goal of improving worldwide education. In 2000 at the turn of the millennium, the United Nations set several goals to improve the world in a certain set of years. One of these goals was to “ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”. Compared to 15 years ago when this goal was set, 56 million more girls now have access to a primary education, and every developing region in the world has achieved or is close to achieving gender parity in primary education.

Obama does however emphasize that primary education is only the starting point. Despite access to primary education, girls are still treated as second-class citizens in almost every country in the world. In developing countries, practices like forced marriage, genital cutting, domestic violence and human trafficking are still all too common. She condemns the tradition of girls being married off as early as 10, becoming pregnant not much later and living a life of dependence.

“None of us in this room would ever dream of accepting that kind of life for our daughters or granddaughters.  So why would we accept this for any girl in our country, or any girl on this planet?”

In many developing countries, when girls become women they are suddenly subjected to the norms and prejudices her society holds against women, and for most, this means a lack of freedom rights, sexual exploitation, discrimination and being told how to look and what to wear. Michelle Obama states that these goals to promote equality must continue in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and swears her devotion to ensure they do. She reminds us of brave people like Malala Yousafzai who violently suffered systematic discrimination against girls’ education, and the still-missing 200 Nigerian school girls, who were kidnapped by terrorists from their classroom and now threatened to be married off to militants. These events remind us that although equality is on our radar, we still have a lot of work to do in changing the mindsets around girls’ equality.

Source: The Guardian
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