Obama and InStyle team up for handbag collection

While fashion helps us look good, it can also do good — and that’s exactly the aim of a new handbag collection from First Lady Michelle Obama and InStyle.

Fresh off her stint as covergirl for InStyle‘s October issue, People Style says Obama and InStyle channeled their working relationship into a new line of handbags that will benefit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, the First Lady’s project to “to help adolescent girls around the world attend school since more than 62 million girls are currently not in classrooms due to physical, cultural, or financial barriers.”

Teaming up with American designers, the line features several limited-edition tote bags that depict a country of the designers’ choosing in which “Let Girls Learn is working to provide education to young women who need it,” reports People Style, and the resulting design is inspired by the culture of the country.

Designers like Carolina Herrera (who chose Peru), Prabal Gurung (who chose South Africa), Jason Wu, DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tanya Taylor and Narciso Rodriguez all joined in on the project, offering stylish tote designs that People Style says will be available only at shop.InStyle.com starting on Oct. 10 (pre-orders started on Sept. 12).

Totes start at $52, says People Style, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Let Girls Learn.


Obama fights to let girls learn

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission since the 2015 launch of her Let Girls Learn campaign to attract attention to the global issue of girls’ education. And this week, Obama took on a three-country tour to further discuss the topic and encourage girls to fight for an education.

According to ELLE, the First Lady began her trip — part of her Let Girls Learn initiative — on Monday, June 27 with a visit to Kakata, Liberia to “visit a local leadership camp for girls and to encourage the young women there to stay in school.”

Obama later met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who ELLE reports is “the first woman to be elected a head of state in Africa.” While Obama delivered an address to the leadership camp, USAID — the United States Agency for International Development — announced in union with the First Lady’s tour $27 million in funding to support “Let Girls Learn” in Liberia, says ELLE, and to expand Peace Corps programs.

After the stop in Liberia, Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia travelled to Morocco, where the First Lady was joined by actress Meryl Streep for a conversation with young girls in Marrakech about girls’ education, says the AP.

The last leg of the tour included a stop in Madrid, Spain, says the AP, in which Obama discussed her Let Girls Learn initiative, once again to bring attention to the “more than 62 million girls worldwide who don’t attend school.”

Obama pushes to ‘let girls learn’

Of the many causes taken up by the Obamas during their time in the White House, one that First Lady Michelle Obama has championed is education, not just for all children, but specifically for girls, hoping to create a sexism-free education.

In her speech given Wednesday, March 23 in Argentina, The Huffington Post says that the First Lady had her own experiences with sexism in school, something that may have fueled her passion for the cause.

Obama said that she had teachers who “‘would call on the boys instead of the girls, even though the girls had better grades,’ and would ask her brother about his career ambitions while asking her what kind of man she wanted to marry,” according to The Huffington Post.

Although she experienced subtle sexism in school growing up, it certainly did not end there, Obama said.

“As I got older, I found that men would whistle at me as I walked down the street, as if my body were their property, as if I were an object to be commented on instead of a full human being with thoughts and feelings of my own … I began to realize that the hopes I had for myself were in conflict with the messages I was receiving from people around me.”

Pointing out that such comments made her question herself, Obama explained that after years of doubting herself and her abilities, she finally learned to stop caring about others’ opinions.

“I decided not to listen to the voices of those who doubted or dismissed me. Instead, I decided to listen to my own voice,” she said.

Acting on her experiences, Obama launched the “Let Girls Learn” initiative in March 2015, a partnership with the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe that aims to “‘to educate girls across the globe.'”