Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle empower young girls worldwide at Girl Up Leadership Summit
On July 14, the organization founded by the UN Foundation held the summit virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Duchess Meghan Markle and former first lady, Michelle Obama gave inspiring speeches at the virtual Girl Up Leadership Summit on July 14.
Girl Up was founded by the UN Foundation in 2010 as an initiative to help support UN agencies that center on adolescent girls. They focus on gender equality, gender violence, girls’ education, girls in sports and girls in STEM careers.
Markle pointed out that the digital sphere is a crucial place for social change to occur, as young people of today “understand that our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm.” Hence, she encouraged people to raise their voices online and drown out hatred.
Her speech touched on a wide range of topics, including the Black Lives Matter movement, and racial justice and equality for all women and girls. She emphasized that there is no better time than the present to make our voices heard.
“Believing in true equality is not enough. We have to work for it every day; even when it’s hard and even when it makes others feel uneasy. We have to speak up for ourselves and we have to speak out for others who struggle to be heard,” she said.
Michelle Obama shared a message on behalf of the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation that seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education.
She praised girls around the world for their resilience in dealing with abrupt changes to their education because of the pandemic, and explained how crises like these can worsen issues such as “teen pregnancy, violence at home, child marriage, and caretaking responsibilities within families.”
"When we give girls the chance to learn, we give them the opportunity to fulfill their potential, build healthier families, and contribute to their countries, economies, for generations to come,” she said.