Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS


Oct 23, 2015
Press Release
Announcement comes two days after private meeting between Congressional Pakistan Caucus Co-Chair Jackson Lee and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on issues related to girls’ education, religious freedom and the economic empowerment in Pakistan.

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement today regarding the White House announcement of $70 million grant program for girls education programs in Pakistan and First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative:

“As founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus, the education and empowerment of girls is an issue near and dear to me.” I have worked tirelessly to advance the rights of girls to educational opportunity from Pakistan to Nigeria and beyond. That is why I introduced H.R. 69, legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in recognition of her advocacy is support of access to education for young girls in Pakistan and around the world. H.R. 69 is enjoys the support of more than 50 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives.

“The provision of $70 million to support programs benefitting more than 200,000 adolescent girls aged 10-19 is very critical since education is imperative for young girls and the trajectory of their destinies as women. I commend the partnership between First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, spouse of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Mrs. Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

“The ‘Let Girls Learn’ (Pakistan) Initiative will facilitate public-private partnerships and collaborations to advance girls' education and empowerment. It is an amazing platform that will catalyze economic, political and social frameworks to strengthen adolescent girls' education and empowerment in Pakistan.

As shown in the case of Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head for seeking to be educated, young women in Pakistan face barriers to educational opportunities ranging from violence to poverty, to cultural norms, and geographic isolation.

“However, Malala gives us hope and represents the future of Pakistan and inspires girls in Pakistan who will benefit from the Let Girls Learn Initiative. This Initiative invests in the future of Pakistan: young girls who will be filling important leadership roles in the Pakistani government and businesses in Pakistan and around the globe.

“Malala’s actions demonstrate the local and global difference one person - and one initiative like ‘Let Girls Learn’ - can make. When girls thrive, women thrive. When women thrive, the nation thrives. If each of the 200,000 initial beneficiaries of the ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative in Pakistan positively impacts five other lives, we will have changed the future for the better of a million girls. That is a goal worthy of our support.”


Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.