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First lady asks African leaders to change gender attitudes

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

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. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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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