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Mrs. Obama shares a message on International Women’s Day

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs a student following a lesson plan about girls' leadership and self-esteem in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Aman

In honor of International Women's Day, Mrs. Obama sent the message below to the Foundation's full email list. To receive updates on the Foundation's work to create opportunities for girls and women around the world, you can sign up for our email list here. 

Hi there, and happy International Women's Day.

Growing up, my parents always had a clear message for me and my brother: There is nothing more important for your future than getting a good education. Nothing.

Even though neither of them had a college degree, they were determined to give us that opportunity. And let me tell you, my education changed everything for me -- opening doors I never could have imagined and allowing me to pursue the career of my dreams.

For me, education meant freedom and empowerment; the chance to fulfill my potential and make my voice heard in the world. And it breaks my heart that today, there are millions of girls across the globe who don't have the chance to attend school.

We know the kind of impact educating girls can have -- not just for them and their families, but for their communities and their countries as well.

Girls who go to school marry later, have lower rates of infant and maternal mortality, are more likely to immunize their children, and are less likely to contract malaria and HIV. Girls who are educated also earn higher salaries -- 10 to 20 percent more for each additional year of secondary school. And sending more girls to school and into the workforce can boost an entire country's economy.

That's why, as First Lady, I started an initiative to help more girls worldwide attend school, and before I left the White House, I committed to working on this issue for the rest of my life.

I want every girl on this planet to have the same kind of opportunities that I've had, and that my daughters have -- and I need your help.

Every single one of us has a role to play in helping girls get the education they deserve, and International Women's Day is the perfect time to make that commitment.

I look forward to sharing more about our work with you soon, and I hope you'll join us in this effort. Thank you for everything you've done and continue to do to support the Obama Foundation.