Michelle Obama Wants Your Next Selfie to Support Girls’ Education

The first lady’s '62 Million Girls' campaign asks people to answer the question, ‘What did you learn in school?’
First Lady Michelle Obama. (Photo: Twitter)
Sep 27, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

After Beyoncé informed tens of thousands of people that “girls run the world” at the Global Citizen Festival, First Lady Michelle Obama took to the stage to encourage the audience to take steps to ensure that girls can do just that.

“Right now 62 million girls are not in school...they deserve the same chances to get an education as my daughters and your daughters and all of our children,” Obama told the crowd at the fourth-annual event aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030. The first lady asked the audience to speak up for those girls by tweeting photos of themselves with the hashtag #62MillionGirls, along with something they learned in school.

Obama’s new campaign is part of the "Let Girls Learn" initiative, which focuses on “community-led solutions to reduce barriers that prevent adolescent girls from completing their education.” Girls face more roadblocks to education than their male peers, including forced early marriage and gender-based violence. Boys’ education is often prioritized ahead of girls’ in low-income households where money for supplies and tuition is tight, with families sending their male children to school while the girls handle household duties.

Higher education leads not just to girls’ success, but also to the success of all members of society. Schooling allows girls to grow into women with higher-paying jobs and help support their families and communities.

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“Giving [girls] that chance is at the core of our work to end global poverty,” said Obama. She kicked off the campaign by adding what she learned in school: how to speak up for herself.

Many of the messages tweeted focused not on specific subjects like history or science but on life lessons and social skills that are also a large part of education.

While fans posted pictures of themselves to promote education, the crowd was treated to performances by Coldplay and Pearl Jam, along with a speech from Malala Yousafzai and a taped message from President Barack Obama. Concertgoers won their tickets by taking action to end poverty.