By Sarah Begley
March 16, 2016

In the latest Lenny Letter, First Lady Michelle Obama wrote about her commitment to global girls’ education, explaining how a sea change will be needed to help put the 62 million girls who aren’t currently in school back in the classroom.

“So often when people talk about the issue of global girls’ education, they dive right into the policy weeds,” she wrote, detailing how everything from long commutes, hefty fees, and inadequate bathroom service keeps girls from moving past an elementary education. “All of this is true,” she writes, but “[i]t’s also very much about attitudes and beliefs: the belief that girls should be valued for their bodies, not their minds; the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education, and their best chance in life is to be married off when they’re barely even teenagers and start having children of their own.”

The First Lady went on to say that this has become a personal issue for her after traveling the world and meeting many striving young women laboring over “rickety desks in bare concrete classrooms who are raising their hands so hard they’re almost falling out of their chairs.” She urged women who see themselves in these girls to get involved through Girl Rising and the social media campaign #62MillionGirls, and drew attention to the next phase of her and President Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which begins its action phase at South by Southwest on Wednesday.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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