- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2016

First lady Michelle Obama slipped in a pro-choice message this week while promoting equality for girls in heavily Catholic Spain, giving advice on how to raise children “if you choose to have them.”

Speaking to hundreds of young girls and women in Madrid, Mrs. Obama urged her audience to change “inequalities in our cultures” that hold back women in their daily lives.

“You can start with how you raise your own children if you choose to have them,” Mrs. Obama said. “Maybe it means telling your sons that it’s OK to cry, and your daughters that it’s OK to be bossy.”

The first lady is wrapping up a tour of Liberia, Morocco and Spain to promote her “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which has a goal of providing access to education for 62 million girls worldwide. She was joined at the event in Madrid by Queen Letizia.

Referring to historical progress for women in the U.S., Mrs. Obama referred to Hillary Clinton, saying, “I’m proud to say that this year, for the first time in history, we might just elect a president — a female president of the United States.”

Mrs. Obama told her audience that too many girls around the world are forced to abandon an education at a very young age to get married and have children. She said her initiative is “about whether families and communities think that girls are even worthy of an education in the first place.”

“It’s about whether girls are valued only for their bodies — for their labor, for their reproductive capacities — or are they valued for their minds as well,” the first lady said.

In the U.S. and Spain, she said, despite progress on women’s equality, “men and women are often held to very different standards.”

“Changes in our laws haven’t always translated to changes in our cultures,” Mrs. Obama said. “And many of us still struggle with outdated norms and assumptions about the proper role for women, especially when it comes to our families and our workplaces.”

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