Greatest female role model of the 21st Century
Michelle Obama the first African American first lady of the United States certainly has the makings of a star on her life’s Christmas tree. One which is embellished in a plethora of vibrant colors which reflect upon her successful attempts in uplifting the position of women, creating awareness about poverty, eradicating racism and weakening the foundations of all patriarchal societies.
As a suffragette, Michelle lays huge stress on women empowerment through her fiery speeches. In a speech at the South African Young African Women’s Leader Forum, she encouraged African women to take on the challenge of eliminating injustice and be the generation to ensure that women are no longer second-class citizens and that girls earn their rightful places in schools. Michelle also participated in the campaign to bring back the girls kidnapped in Nigeria and tweeted a picture of herself holding the poster with the bring back the girls hashtag. Devoted to the cause of women, she introduced the let girls learn initiative in March 2015 which reached out to the 62 million girls who didn’t have access to quality education. Upon an event hosted by The Women’s Foundation of Colorado the former lawyer informed that “If we want girls to excel in STEM, we need to rethink how we deliver education”. “Teachers”, she added “a kind word can mean the world to a young girl.
Given her capacity to motivate, inspire and call others to action, Michelle was seldom referred to as an atypical first lady. To her leadership was much more than having a type- A personality. It was about being compassionate to people from all walks of life. She was also vocal and truthful about the harsh realities face by minorities in America. This came to a head at the 2015 commencement at the Tuskegee university where she told black students to stay strong and persevere against all odds. Moreover, she gave a tribute to the historic Tuskegee Airmen-the US military’s first black pilots and the reflection on the hurdles the black soldiers faced led her to tell the students that she used to struggle with how people perceived her as a black first lady. When asked about which of the falling glass shards cut deepest, she said the ones intended to cut referencing an incident in which a west Virginian county employee called her an ape in heels and how people never took her seriously because of her color. “I had to stay true to myself and the rest would work itself out”, she continued. Upon another occasion she stated “Our diversity of faith, colors and creeds- that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.
During her tenure, she introduced the “Let’s move” and “Reach higher” programmes which aimed to reduce childhood obesity to 5 percent by 2030 and inspired children to give preference to education. Furthermore, she passed the Bipartisan Lunch programme, which provided lunches to over 20 million children from low-income families.
Therefore, considering her ongoing efforts to fight poverty, inequality and obesity, many regarded Michelle as a fearless leader. This gave her a sense of purpose that transcended beyond racial divides and political lines. While her eloquence, grace and optimism gave her a story many wish to have lived.