First lady Michelle Obama pens open letter to women

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet supporters in Portsmouth, N.H. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama say they both plan to vote early. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet supporters in Portsmouth, N.H. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama say they both plan to vote early. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

With fewer than 20 days left until the country elects its next president, first lady Michelle Obama is urging women to come out in strong numbers and vote for her husband.

“I voted for him because I knew he was going to stand up for women like me — and our daughters, sisters, and mothers,” she wrote in a letter published in Elle magazine. “I’m proud of how far we have come. And I’m determined to help him keep moving forward.”

The beginning of the letter describes President Barack Obama as a “loving husband and a devoted father.”

Michelle writes, “I knew he shared my determination to make a difference in other people’s lives. But I never dreamed that he’d one day be president, and I know that he didn’t either.”

She ends the letter by listing five reasons why women should vote for President Obama on November 6, including:

1. He’s fighting for equal pay for women. Barack was raised by a single mom who struggled to pay the bills, and by a grandmother who worked hard at her job but hit a glass ceiling and watched men she actually trained climb the career ladder ahead of her. As the father of two girls, he wants to make sure that all our daughters grow up with the same opportunities as our sons and are treated fairly in the workplace. That’s why the first bill he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.

2. He’ll fight for our right to make our own health-care decisions. Thanks to the historic health-care reform he signed, insurance companies will have to provide access to preventive services like contraception and cancer screenings without a co-pay. And they’ll no longer be able to make us pay more for health insurance just because we’re women.

Read the rest of the letter on Elle.com.

During election season, both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have appeared in several women’s magazines, like Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day, to make the case for their husbands’ elections.

Women’s rights issues were a part of the discussion during the last presidential debate on Tuesday. President Obama and Romney both answered questions on equal pay and contraception, which spun off into a viral Internet meme when Romney claimed to have  “binders full of women” that he used when hiring for his company.

The next and final presidential debate will be held Monday, October 22.

Follow Ugonna on Twitter at @ugonnaokpalaoka.