Jul 13, 2020
Michelle Obama Speech Transcript on the Importance of Educating Girls & Gender Equality
Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama gave a virtual video speech on July 13 to the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit attendees. Read the full transcript of her video message here.
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Michelle Obama: (00:00)
Hi, everyone. I wish we could be together sharing hugs and laughs in person, but I am so thankful that Girl Up has found a way to keep us connected and celebrate the power of girls all over the world.
Michelle Obama: (00:14)
Over these past few months, there’s been so much uncertainty. You all are dealing with serious loss in your own families and abrupt changes to your daily lives, especially when it comes to your education. But you all have shown incredible resilience in difficult circumstances before. Your determination over so many years has already helped countless girls create a brighter future for themselves and their families. And this pandemic has only shown that your efforts are even more important right now.
Michelle Obama: (00:49)
We know from past crises like Ebola, that the struggles that many girls already face are worsened in times like these: violence at home, child marriage and teen pregnancy, economic hardship, and caretaking responsibilities within families. Challenges like these are made even more stark in times of crisis; and that, of course, includes education.
Michelle Obama: (01:17)
The Malala Fund predicts that when students are eventually allowed back into their classrooms, an additional 10 million girls of secondary school age could remain out of school. And we can’t let that happen. We can’t let these girls be forgotten during this crisis. The stakes are just too high. Because when we give girls the chance to learn, we give them the opportunity to fulfill their potential, build healthier families and contribute to their country’s economies for generations to come.
Michelle Obama: (01:52)
That’s why we started the Girls Opportunity Alliance at the Obama Foundation. Because we believe that the millions of adolescent girls around the world who aren’t in school today can make a profound difference for their families, their communities, and our entire world; but, only if they have the opportunity and the education to get it done.
Michelle Obama: (02:19)
I know that all of you believe that too. And that’s why we are excited to work hand-in-hand with each and every one of you. And you can start by joining me in spreading the word about global girls education with the hashtag #GirlsOpportunityAlliance.
Michelle Obama: (02:37)
I’ve already seen your ability to create change all over the world. Girl Up clubs have stepped up in incredible, inspiring ways during the pandemic from making face masks for their communities in Mexico, to setting up online learning platforms in Malawi. With every action you take, you’re proving that you’re not just the leaders of tomorrow, you’re already the leaders of today.
Michelle Obama: (03:04)
So thank you again. Thank you for everything you’re doing. I can’t wait to see how you’ll come together to change the world and help all girls fulfill their boundless promise. Have a great summit. See you.