First Lady Michelle Obama told a gathering in Omaha today that if any girl is denied opportunity, the entire country is diminished.
Mrs. Obama appeared at the CenturyLink Center as the guest speaker at the Girls Inc. annual luncheon, which attracted a sellout crowd of more than 2,500 people.
“If the talent of one girl goes unrecognized, if one girl’s dreams go unrealized, if one girl is denied opportunities for reasons that have nothing to do with her talent, or character or work ethic, then we are all diminished,” Mrs. Obama told the gathering.
Mrs. Obama told the girls attending to be true to themselves and to believe in themselves. She encouraged them to dream big, stating their dreams could include hoping to someday be president, not just the First Lady.
The First Lady told the audience that encouraging young girls will reap great benefits for the country.
“Women make up nearly 50% of our workforce. They own nearly 30% of our small businesses and a growing number of women are their family’s bread winners,” Mrs. Obama said. “So, this isn’t just about lifting up girls. This is about lifting up America.”
Girls Inc. made Mrs. Obama the national honorary chairwoman of the organization. She became the second Obama to address the group. Her husband, then Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, addressed the group in 2005.
Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KFAB contributed to this report.
AUDIO: First Lady Michelle Obama addresses Girls Inc. [:50]
AUDIO: More with First Lady Obama from Omaha speech [:35]