It’s been 3 years since Michelle Obama left the White House as America’s 44th first lady, and since then she has traveled the world giving inspirational speeches, writing a best-selling book and doing charity works, but most importantly, Michelle has made it her mission to champion women and adolescent girls around the world.
In commemoration of Women’s History Month, Michelle Obama is continuing her mission to draw attention to the education of adolescent girls around the globe, by partnering with YouTube for a special series on “Creators for Change on Girls’ Education“.
The series features a roundtable with the following prominent YouTube bloggers: Prajakta Koli, who is outspoken about mental health and cyberbullying on her channel, “MostlySane“; Thembe Mahlaba, who is part of the team behind Pap Culture, a storytelling space shedding light on African youth culture; and Liza Koshy, who continues to create original content on her YouTube channel while growing her acting career.
In the video, Liza Koshy asks Michelle about finding her own strength to be the first in certain areas of her life, such as the first Black first lady.
Well, it goes back to an education. I came into my role as first lady, I just wasn’t Michelle Obama. My education put me in positions to have jobs where I was able to start my own organizations and manage staffs,” Obama says in the clip. “I was a corporate lawyer, I was an associate dean at an academic medical institution, I started a nonprofit organization, I was the vice president at a hospital. So all those skills, because of my education, lo and behold prepared me for this role of being the first, right, because you sort of get used to being the first. Oftentimes when you’re the first you’ve been the first at many tables.
But being at the table doesn’t mean acting like a man, and sometimes I think we get that wrong — we think, Okay we have to shed all of our womanhood to sit at this table,” Obama continues. “But the truth is, what we need is the balance of who we are. What we provide is the balance that isn’t there and that’s a good thing. Yeah, there are differences. They’re not better or worse, they’re not negative or positive. They’re different. And we don’t have to be anything other than our natural selves to add huge value to the table, but we have to believe in that.
Obama then offers this advice to the ladies:
We need to find and sometimes build our own tribes. That’s what I think a lot of these programs do for these girls: They pull them out of the isolation of their own homes because the truth is you’re never the only one, it’s just some time we’re so scattered that we don’t know we’re out there.
And these programs call these girls into one place and say, ‘These are the girls that believe they can run, these are the girls who are interested in economics, these are the girls who want to find their voice,’ and you’re not alone.
Watch the videos below: