This year, first lady Michelle Obama has set out on a mission to get education to young girls around the world. Her “Let Girls Learn” initiative is starting to reach millions around the world. She has begun talks and social media trends to spread women’s education. In an effort to have women’s faces and voices be the spokespeople of her campaign, she has started #62MillionGirls.
The hashtag is a representation of the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school. In recent days, celebrities have pushed this platform onto social media sites, like Twitter and Instagram, where they post a picture of themselves with the line, “In school, I learned… #62MillionGirls don’t have that chance.” This phrase has become a signature representation of the battle that girls face every day.
The first lady sat down several days ago to speak to young girls about the distractions that arise in schools that may lead them to not finish their education. This is a sticking point in American culture as we see more and more girls becoming pregnant and dropping out of school. Education, however, should stand above all other influences that school can involve. As Obama points out in her talk, a boy liking a girl now won’t matter in the years that come where you should be focusing on your classes. As the first lady said, you will find a significant other later in life. She points out that if she had focused on boys during the entirety of her educational years, she would not have married the President of the United States. However, in many countries, girls are held back simply by the attitudes of their culture that want them married by a young age.
These cultures are the ones that teach girls that being a wife and mother is more important than getting their education. While being a mother is still a very important aspect in many women’s lives, it shouldn’t be stressed before they have the opportunity to learn. Women in cultures that keep them from learning in order to be a mother and wife restrict women to have only one value in life and never lets them fully expand their horizons.
As obvious as that may seem to us, it comes as a challenge in many cultures who still value men’s education over women’s. Who is to say that women shouldn’t be given the same opportunities to learn and have an education as men? In many countries, this is the case as girls don’t get to go to school everyday to learn science and math, but are instead taught to still be in the kitchen and expected to be mothers.
In America, these standards were pushed aside long ago and replaced by a woman’s right to education, but now women see other distractions getting in the way of their education, especially men. Women should lift each other up to realize that they are much more than old standards of being a wife and mother and that men don’t control our learning. We also have to want to pursue education. That is something this campaign is wholeheartedly all about.