First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to educating adolescent girls worldwide is receiving major backing.

The multi-billion dollar investment will go to Let Girls Learn over the next five years. Mrs. Obama and the White House launched the initiative in March 2015 with efforts to boost education and empower girls eager to learn. Last month, the First Lady released a girl’s anthem with a group of celebrities in support of her initiative. She also announced an online campaign at SXSW.

During a live press conference Wednesday in Washington D.C., the First Lady in conjunction with World Bank and International Monetary fund leaders spoke about the importance of securing access to education for all girls.

“So, the bottom line here is very simple. If we are looking to promote development, then we need to educate and empower women. In fact, no matter what challenge we seek to address from eliminating hunger to eradicating disease to confronting climate change, girls’ education will be vital for our success. Because in any country, if half the population cannot read, write or count, if half the population can’t lift themselves or their family out of poverty, if half the population is devalued, abused and oppressed, it won’t matter how many water systems we build, or how many agricultural or entreprunuership programs we start, if half the population is unable to fully contribute to their society then meaninngful, sustanible development will simply not be possible,” Obama said.

The First Lady says inaccessibility to education is just one of many “disturbing” questions about the lack of resources for girls.

“Why do girls in countless communities still face the daily threat of sexual assault simply by walking to school? Why do some people still believe that a girl was raped was ‘asking for it’, or somehow damaged goods? Why are girls in some parts of the world still missing school because of their menstrual cycles? Or made to feel that a woman’s menstruation and sexuality are unacceptable? Why do we still too often value girls simply for their bodies instead of their minds?”

She went on to say that this issue is a responsibility to us all.

“Ultimately, I think that how vigorously we address the issue of girls’ education worldwide speakes to whether we truly value women at all. And, whether we have the moral vision to look into the eyes of any one of those girls who are not in school and see our own child. Because make no mistake about it, these girls are our girls.”

Preach, Sister Obama

praise clapback

READ NEXT: Michelle Obama delivers powerful message on sexism and education in Argentina