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Malia Obama President Barack OBama

President Barack Obama is calling on people all over the world to do everything they can to protect, nurture and encourage young women to be their best.

With the launch of My Brothers’ Keeper, many in the Black community questioned whether he’d forgotten about the struggles that young women face. President Obama insisted last month that his administration was not ignoring girls, and he reminded the nation that he’s taking several steps to ensure that girls have a fair shot in this world.

To drive that point home, the president declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl “On International Day of the Girl, we stand with girls, women, and male and female advocates in every country who are calling for freedom and justice,” he said in an official statement from the White House, “and we renew our commitment to build a world where all girls feel safe, supported, and encouraged to pursue their own measure of happiness.”

President Obama, who has two amazing daughters of his own, also hopes that this day will be used to call attention to the various injustices, crimes, and acts of violence that young women face all over of the world–and then do something about it. That includes the “harmful cultural norms and prejudices that tell young women how they are expected to look and act deny the dignity and equality” that they deserve as human beings.

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“Today, we resolve to do more than simply shine a light on inequality,” said Barack. “With partners across the globe, we support the girls who reach for their future in the face of unimaginable obstacles, and we continue our work to change attitudes and shift beliefs until every girl has the opportunities she deserves to shape her own destiny and fulfill her boundless promise.”

And he noted that the plight women face abroad is just as important as the problems they have to deal with in U.S. “As we work to transform the lives of girls and women abroad, we have also redoubled our efforts to ensure there are no barriers to their success here at home,” said President Obama. “We must see the hopes and dreams of our own girls and realize that these are the same dreams of girls around the world.”

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By allowing young women to suffer violence and inequitable cultural norms, the president mused that many of the world’s brightest minds are being blocked from reaching their full potential. That’s a disservice to the world that he cannot abide.

“We cannot afford to silence the girl who holds the key to changing her community, or the voice that speaks up to call for peace or further scientific discovery,” said the president. “We cannot allow violence to snuff out the aspirations of young women in America, and we must not accept it anywhere in the world.”

As he made his official declaration, he said in conclusion, “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that advance equality and opportunity for girls everywhere.”

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