Former first lady Michelle Obama is among the nine women set to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame this year, the organization announced in a statement on Monday – coinciding with International Women’s Day.
Established in 1969, the National Women’s Hall of Fame is the oldest membership organization in the United States that recognizes and honors the contributions and achievements of women in the country.
“Advocate, author, lawyer, and 44th First Lady of the United States—the first Black person to serve in the role—Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most influential and iconic women of the 21st century,” the statement said.
The organization lauded Obama’s initiatives and endeavors during her time as first lady of the United States.
“During her time in the White House, from 2009-2017, she established herself as a strong advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world,” the statement said, citing programs including Let’s Move!, which aimed at ending childhood obesity, the Reach Higher Initiative which provided career guidance and other resources to students, the Joining Forces initiative which she co-lead with the current first lady Dr. Jill Biden to help veterans and Let Girls Learn – a global program that supported the education of adolescent girls.
“During her eight years as First Lady, Michelle Obama she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, transforming the White House into the ‘People’s House,’” the organization said, adding: “Since leaving the White House, she has continued to have a profound public impact.”
Following her departure from the White House, the 57-year-old has so far vested her time on hugely successful and history-making projects. Her best-selling memoir, Becoming, shattered several records after it hit the shelves in 2018. The book also won her a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2020. She also went ahead to successfully start The Michelle Obama Podcast.
“Both in and out of the White House, Michelle Obama has accomplished her initiatives and so much more—becoming an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, international adolescent girls’ education, and serving as a role model for women and young girls everywhere,” the statement said.
The 2021 inductee list also includes the likes of deceased author and the first science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler and trailblazing former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. The induction ceremony will be held on October 2 at the National Women’s Hall of Fame Grounds in Seneca Falls, New York, with all COVID-19 safety protocols observed. The event will also be streamed live to the public for free.