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April 29, 2009

Why Michelle Obama inspires women around the globe

Heather Ferreira works in the slums of Mumbai, India, where she has watched thousands of women live under a "curse."

The women she meets in the squalid streets where "Slumdog Millionaire" was filmed are often treated with contempt, she says. They're considered ugly if their skin and hair are too dark. They are deemed "cursed" if they only have daughters. Many would-be mothers even abort their children if they learn they're female.

Yet lately she says Indian women are getting another message from the emergence of another woman thousands of miles away. This woman has dark skin and hair. She walks next to her husband in public, not behind. And she has two daughters. But no one calls her cursed. They call her Michelle Obama, the first lady.

"She could be a new face for India," says Ferreira, program officer for an HIV-prevention program run by World Vision, an international humanitarian group. "She shows women that it's OK to have dark skin and to not have a son. She's quite real to us."

Those who focus on Michelle Obama's impact on America are underestimating her reach. The first lady is inspiring women of around the globe to look at themselves, and America, in fresh ways. Continue reading here


Fly Girl said...

Anybody who's aware of the global treatment of women and people of color have never underestimated Michelle's reach. Women with dark skin are still sometimes discriminated against in the U.S. so you know that developing countries still have pockets of bias. Michelle's poise, look and educations gives hope to women everwhere. The way she raises her girls (who don't have processed hair) also sends a gound-breaking message. Change has arrived.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fly Girl, and will add that Michelle Obama also gives hope in that she shows that you can come from anywhere and become anything. She is inspiration personified.


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