WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday the U.S. has made progress in improving education for girls in other developing countries, but call on private industry as well as the government to do more.
At an International Women’s Day event at Union Market in Washington, Obama said that “62 million girls worldwide, who are just as smart and hardworking as we are aren’t getting the opportunities that we sometimes take for granted.”
The event marked the one-year anniversary of Let Girls Learn, a White House and U.S. Agency for International Development initiative to fund girls’ education projects worldwide. The initiative, with help from the Peace Corps, organizes community-led efforts to encourage girls’ leadership and address issues like poverty and HIV that prevent girls from getting an education.
“In the end, we’re going to solve this problem of giving women everywhere access to education,” said Obama to more than 200 young women . “In just a year, if we’ve made all this progress, we can get this done.”
President Barack Obama requested an additional $100 million for the initiative in his 2017 budget proposal.
Leaders from companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Alex and Ani spoke about their commitment to the initiative.
“We all have a responsibility to help empower women to learn and succeed,” said Jayne Conway, chief finance and operating office of Alex and Ani, a jewelry chain that is known for giving some of their profits to charities.