First Lady Asks Leaders to Change Gender Attitudes

Michelle Obama called on young African leaders to change traditional attitudes and beliefs that harm girls and women, adding that educating and making women financially literate is not enough.

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens,” Mrs. Obama said.

The first lady spoke Wednesday to the inaugural class of young African fellows who are getting six weeks of leadership training in the United States as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

“Leadership is about creating new traditions that honor the dignity and humanity of every individual. Leadership is about empowering all of our people— men, women, boys and girls,” she said. “When we commit to that kind of leadership across the globe, that is when we truly start making progress on girls’ education.”