In the Words of Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama: Quotes to Live By was a gift to myself. It’s a small book, containing a collection of over 170 quotations.

And my copy is full of sticky notes. 

Here are some of the quotations that stood out to me:

Every single child has boundless promise, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how much money their parents have. We’ve got to remember that.
– National Arts and Humanities
Youth Program Awards, November 2016

“I never cut class. I loved getting As. I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.”
– Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London, April 2009

“We can’t afford not to educate girls and give women the power and the access that they need.”
– Mulberry School for Girls Skype conversation, June 2015

“Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health because … we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do list.”
Real Health magazine interview, November 2007

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
60 Minutes interview, February 2007

“You don’t come up with the right answer if everyone at the table looks the same and thinks the same and has the same experience.”
– White House screening of Hidden Figures, December 2016

“In those darkest moments, you will have a choice: do you dwell on everything you’ve lost, or do you focus on what you still have and find a way to move forward with passion, with determination, and with joy?”
– Oregon State University commencement, June 2012

“What matters are the true friends you make, the activities you throw yourself into, the books you read, the skills and knowledge you acquire. Those experiences — the ones that make you stronger, smarter, and braver — are what really matter.”
– People Magazine essay, October 2014

Vital Voices

After reading Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower, I was left with two distinct thoughts:

1.  Our future is in good hands. Capable, creative, competent, compassionate, female hands. Women who acknowledge problems and situations that need to be changed, fixed, resolved. Women who don’t just talk about making change; they actively make the change.

2. I have a lot to learn. While the book did include some familiar names (including Malala Yousafzai, Geena Davis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Amanda Gorman, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to name just a few), most of the women featured in this beautiful book were unknown to me.

The book highlights 100 women from around the world; women who are working in the fields of education, the environment, politics, healthcare, and more. 

All of these women deserve to be highlighted, so how to choose who to write about for a blog post? In a very unscientific way, I made my decision by flipping through the book and randomly selecting these four women:

Kakenya Ntaiya of Kenya. “Founder and president  of the Kakenya Center for Excellence, an organization committed to ensuring that every girl in her community has the opportunity for a different future, armed with education and free from violence.”

Michelle Bachelet of Chile. “Dedicated her life to achieving equality and human rights for all as a public servant, at the United Nations and as Chile’s first female president.”

Priti Patkar of India. “Co-founder and director of Prerana, an organization committed to ending the cycle of intergenerational sex abuse and human trafficking in the red-light district of Mumbai, India.” 

Christelle Kwizera of Rwanda. “Founder of Water Access Rwanda, an award-winning innovative social enterprise offering tailor-made solutions for the collection, distribution and purification of water.”