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Amal Clooney, Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates Team Up to Change the World

Through the new Get Her There campaign, the women are doubling down on efforts to empower and uplift girls in vulnerable communities.

Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney and Melinda Gates are joining forces through their respective organizations – the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, the Clooney Foundation for Justice and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – to launch the Get Her There campaign. Through this effort, they will help ensure that teen girls around the world have every opportunity to thrive by focusing on improving girls’ access to education by ending child marriage and working toward gender equality.

During the kickoff event for the campaign in New York City on Oct. 25, the three women discussed their vision for the project and how they will be stronger together to change societal norms. Currently, an estimated 12 million girls worldwide are married before the age of 18 each year, and one in seven girls in developing nations is married before she is 15, both cases ultimately resulting in school dropouts.

Obama acknowledged how much education impacted her own life. “It has given me the tools to envision where ‘there’ [is for me],” she said while explaining that “there” in the campaign name is “anywhere a girl can dream.” Clooney added, “Who knows how many of the [girls pushed into child marriage] could've gone on to cure cancer or lead a country?”

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The human rights lawyer also shared how her 5-year-old twins Ella and Alexander (their father is actor/director George Clooney) are the “real driving force” behind her advocacy. Forever focused on the issues that she fights for on a daily basis in vulnerable communities, [parenthood] “put a fine point on why we’re doing all of this.”

A great motivator, Clooney’s kids are seeing the example put forth by both of their parents. “I do think about in a few years when they’re more than 5, when they start to learn about some of these issues that we’re talking about and what’s happening in the world,” she said. “You know, when they ask us, ‘What did you do about this? What did you say about that?’ I’ve thought about what will my answer be, and I hope it will be a good one. We cannot assume that justice is going to happen. We have to actually fight for it, and we have to make it happen.”

Her point reiterates why the Get Her There campaign was started in the first place. In a statement announcing the collaboration, the former First Lady said in part that it is “to help remove the barriers that stand in the way of every girl getting the opportunities she deserves. The barriers these girls face are very real, but I couldn’t be more hopeful about what's ahead in our work together to support them."