“I didn’t run for President so that the dreams of our daughters could be deferred or denied. I didn’t run for President to see inequality and injustice persist in our time. I ran for President to put the same rights, the same opportunities, and the same dreams within the reach for our daughters and our sons alike. I ran for President to put the American Dream within the reach of all of our people, no matter what their gender, or race, or faith, or station.”
Today is International Day of the Girl. That means countries around the world are honoring the importance of empowering girls so they can reach their full potential.
As the father of two young women, President Obama shared his reflections on the progress we’ve made on behalf of girls around the world:
“The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.”
Today, we're joining the global community in celebrating International Day of the Girl. Since the ratification of the 19th amendment 96 years ago, we have made tremendous progress. However, as we reflect upon the strides we have made, we are reminded that the advances we need to make — in promoting gender equality, in opening up educational opportunities, in preventing sexual assault and domestic violence — is not something girls can do alone. It takes all of us, moms and dads, leaders and everyday citizens, to create the change we want to see.
That’s what #DadsAndDaughters is all about — a global conversation about dads, daughters, and their role in supporting and advocating for progress on behalf of girls around the world. Take a look at how the President has worked to improve the lives of women and girls:
On International #DayoftheGirl, we remain committed to providing what we all want for our daughters: a future of limitless possibility.
— President Obama (@POTUS) October 11, 2016
Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls Around the World
Since taking office, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been committed to improving education for girls everywhere. That's why they launched the Let Girls Learn initiative last year — a global effort to give millions of girls across the globae an opportunity to get the education they need to fulfill their potential and lift up their families, communities, and countries. Today, the First Lady recounted the progress we've made since launching Let Girls Learn:
Now, as First Lady, I have no budget of my own for programs, and I have no authority to make or pass laws. That’s why, when we first launched Let Girls Learn, many folks doubted that we could make a real impact on this global issue.
But over the past year and a half, we’ve established partnerships with some of the world’s largest companies and organizations that are committing money, resources and expertise. We’re collaborating with countries like Canada, Mexico and the Nordic countries on girls’ education efforts. Countries like Japan, South Korea, and the UK have collectively pledged nearly $600 million. The United States is investing over a billion dollars through new and ongoing efforts and running Let Girls Learn programs in more than 50 countries. The World Bank Group will be investing $2.5 billion over the next five years. And through social media campaigns, Let Girls Learn has rallied people across America and across the globe to step up and be champions for girls worldwide.
On the homefront, from expanding access to quality early childhood education, fostering school success, supporting girls who want to enter STEM fields, and expanding secondary and higher education opportunities, the President has worked to ensure all girls have a fair shot at an education.
Fighting for Equal Pay and Working Families
The first bill President Obama ever signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, strengthening a woman’s right to equal pay. Since then, the President has lead the way on paid sick and family leave, called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, expanded overtime protections, and worked to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Increasing Access to Affordable Health Care
The President has taken important steps to advance women’s health and make sure women can access health coverage. Through signing the Affordable Care Act, the President has expanded access to quality affordable care for all Americans, including providing necessary care and services for women and girls.
Working to End Violence Against Women and Girls
Alongside Vice President Biden, the President has worked to end violence against women in the United States and abroad. They have actively worked to combat sexual assault on college campuses, establishing the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and helped launch the It’s On Us pledge. The administration has also worked to address sexual assault in the military and improve the criminal justice system to better respond to domestic and sexual violence.
Working to advance equal rights and equal opportunity affects us all. This International Day of The Girl, read more about the President’s Record on Women and Girls and join the conversation by using #DadsAndDaughter to share your stories about how the dads and daughters in your life have helped to de-bunk stereotypes, change cultural attitudes, and support each other in advancing gender equality.
Jazmin Kay is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy