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You don’t need us here at Refinery29 to remind you that this past year has been simultaneously challenging and revolutionary for women. Between the steady stream of messages we’ve received from our public officials and the even harsher realities (finally) exposed by the #MeToo movement, we’ve spent much of the past year fixing problems of prejudice and inequity.
But as we’re looking inward, International Women’s Day is also an opportunity for us all to look outward. And while we still often treat the education of girls worldwide as some far-flung impossible dream — a pursuit for people exclusively in faraway lands to worry about — the power of young women should be a top priority for both the United States and the rest of the world. According to the United Nations, countries lose more than 1 billion dollars a year by failing to educate girls at the same level as boys. And studies from the Brookings Institution report that just one extra year of secondary school can increase a girl's future income by 10 to 20%.

I teamed up with @Refinery29 to mark #InternationalWomensDay and to talk about my passionate commitment to empowering girls around the world through education. This will continue to be a core part of my work at the @ObamaFoundation.

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