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First lady asks leaders to change gender attitudes

By Stacy A. Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:51 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:51 p.m. MDT

First lady Michelle Obama speaks to selected participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, during a roundtable discussion.

Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama is calling on young African leaders to change longtime "attitudes and beliefs" that harm girls and women.

The first lady said Africa has made great strides such as more girls attending school, women starting businesses and more women serving in parliaments. But she said serious work remains when female genital mutilation, forced child marriage and domestic violence against women continue in some countries.

She said these "are not legitimate cultural practices" but "serious human rights violations." Mrs. Obama spoke Wednesday to a crowd of young African leaders who are a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

After Mrs. Obama addressed the crowd, she held a discussion with more than 30 African leaders to discuss girls' education.

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