In the aftermath of Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, a program that encouraged developing nations to educate girls, the US commitment to educating girls or even talking about educating girls has gone silent.
Reports in May 2017 were that the Trump administration intended to close down the Let Girls Learn program, launched by the Obamas in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries. That report in CNN, supported by internal Trump administration memos, was immediately contradicted by other voices in the administration , saying the report about dismantling Let Girls Learn was fallacious.
America’s First Lady Melania Trump made no direct references to girls education —reported in the press or available in a Google search — on her recent trip to Africa. The vast majority of world governments, ngos and even faith leaders believe that educating girls is critical to minimizing terrorism and improving the global economy. The Trump administration has not adopted this point of view, and Melania Trump’s trip to Malawi resulted only in a donation of 1.4 million books under USAID’s national reading program. Note that three times the Trump administration has proposed cuts of 30% of the US Aid program, but Congress has refused to pass the legislation.
For US progressives and concerned activists worldwide, our hopes that Melania Trump would continue a strong commitment to girls education have been dashed. Before we highlight the good news about Michelle Obama and this critical subject, AOC shines a light on the ever-inspiring Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who picked up Michelle Obama’s mantle around girls education when Markle spoke to students at the University of the South Pacific in Figi Wednesday about the critical importance of education for girls.