O Womaniya: The Obama We Need to Pay Equal Attention to

On her birth anniversary, let’s have a look at what the iconic former First Lady has been up to in the recent years.

Published17 Jan 2020, 09:06 AM IST
4 min read
“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
Michelle Obama

Former First Lady of the United States of America—and the first African-American to hold the title— Michelle Obama showed youngsters how to unabashedly be their best selves.

How, you ask?

Well, during her time as First Lady, Obama kickstarted several initiatives, supporting causes close to her heart. Her initiative Let’s Move! , which was launched in 2010, promotes healthy living practices and seeks to end childhood obesity. For Obama, equal access to education is also a cause that she has diligently championed. While, Let Girls Learn (2015) aims to help adolescent girls worldwide obtain quality education, Reach Higher (2014) inspires students to pursue education beyond high school.

There’s more. Along with Jill Biden, Obama leads the initiative Joining Forces (2011), calling for assistance to service members, veterans, and their families, for their education and employment.

From her many initiatives centring around social causes, to her memoir Becoming, chronicling her life and its fair share of trials and tribulations, Michelle Obama has been truly inspirational.

On her birthday, we celebrate one of the most influential women of our times.

Michelle Obama bids  farewell to the White House at a ceremony honouring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year.  (Photo: AP)
Michelle Obama bids farewell to the White House at a ceremony honouring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year. (Photo: AP)

‘A Year of Firsts’: An IGTV Series

“As a first-generation college student myself, I know how intimidating it can be to take that leap and pursue your educational dreams,”
Michelle Obama

A 2019 Gallup survey has listed Obama as the most admired woman by Americans, for the second-year in a row. It is then not surprising that Obama is the one spearheading an initiative that seeks to help young minds realise their full potential.

Teaming up with digital-news outlet ATTN: on A Year of Firsts , Obama, in what is presumably a bid to reach out to millennials, is launching the series on Instagram’s IGTV. The new series is a part of Obama's Reach Higher initiative.

The six-episode series is all set to debut in mid-January, and will run through June 2020. The series will document the lives of four first-year college students, as they navigate the ups and downs of university life.

Becoming : The Journey of an Iconic Woman

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.”
Michelle Obama wrote in Becoming.

From her childhood days in Chicago, career as a lawyer and her time as the First Lady, Michelle Obama has lived a life worth reading and emulating.

In her memoir, Becoming, (2018) , she candidly writes about everything, from confronting racism in public life, her ups and downs with former US president Barack Obama, to her reaction after becoming the country's first black First Lady.

(P.S: The memoir sold around 7, 25,000 copies in the United States and Canada on its first day, and then went on to become the best-selling book of the year. Brave and fearless, Obama also mentions the current American president in her memoir. The criticism is strong and unapologetic, calling Trump a “misogynist” and a “bully”.)

Michelle Obama poses with a European edition of her book. 
Michelle Obama poses with a European edition of her book. 
(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

A lawyer, humanitarian, writer and above all, a rock-solid woman ... Michelle Obama is a woman who will be remembered in history for all the right reasons.

But, wait up! Leaving the White House did not dampen her drive to bring about a positive change. By using her influence to back all the right causes, she has emerged as a trailblazer – a lady we can all look up to.

She recently made headlines for supporting climate activist Greta Thunberg. Thunberg, who has inspired protesters worldwide to push for action in combating the climate crisis, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year.

President Trump tweeted that it was “so ridiculous” for Thunberg to be recognised as Person of the Year. Without naming the President, Obama backed Thunberg and urged her to “ignore the doubters” and “don’t let anyone dim... (her) light.”

Today is a day to celebrate the spirit, passion and voice of the iconic former First Lady.

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