Back when I was a girl, I had all kinds of big dreams for myself. But by the time I started school, I began encountering folks who seemed to doubt my ability to reach my goals:
Teachers who thought girls just weren’t very smart, and would call on the boys in class instead. People who thought a girl shouldn’t have ambition and who would ask my brother what career he planned to have, but would ask me what kind of man I wanted to marry.
I soon realized that the hopes I had for myself were in conflict with the messages I was receiving from the world around me that girls’ voices were somehow less important; that being strong and powerful and outspoken just wasn’t appropriate or attractive for a girl.
But fortunately, because countless strong women — and men — marched, advocated, spoke out, and broke all kinds of barriers and glass ceilings, girls today are beginning to get a whole new set of messages about their place in the world.
That’s what my friend Oprah and I will be sitting down together to discuss next Tuesday, June 14th, at the United State of Women Summit. We are in awe of the trailblazing women who came before us, and we want to continue that progress and empower women and girls for generations to come.
And we want to hear from you. So get your questions ready! Between now and the Summit, tweet them to @FLOTUS or @Oprah using the hashtag #StateofWomen, then tune in to watch our conversation live on June 14th at 5pm ET at go.wh.gov/usow. You might just hear those questions answered! And, don’t forget to share it with your friends.
With us at the Summit will be so many incredible people doing extraordinary things to empower women around the world.
People like Amani Khatahtbeh, who works to eliminate stereotypes surrounding Islam and promote Muslim women in Western societies through a site she founded; Amy Poehler who uses her comedic gifts to bring people together to make change; and Shonda Rhimes, who has created wildly popular TV shows featuring diverse casts that defy stereotypes and inspire us to challenge inequality.