Malala Yousafzai is a young activist who campaigns loudly and effectively for the right of women to earn an education. Unperturbed by an assassination attempt on her life by the Taliban, the now 20 year old young woman speaks around the world on behalf of subjugated women and girls.
Malala Yousafzai was just 15 when she was struck in the head by a Taliban bullet. Targeted specifically for her orations against the Taliban’s actions banning women and girls from educational institutions, Malala has spoken vehemently that education is an inherent right of all people.
This strongly held belief is no doubt a credit to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who established the very school in which she received much of her primary education. Ziauddin is a known anti-Taliban activist in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, which both call home (mostly). After the attempt on her life and subsequent life-saving surgeries, Malala now resides in Birmingham, England, for her safety; her father still lives back home in Pakistan with her mother and her two brothers.
Though Malala realizes the threat she faces from the Taliban, she courageously continues to defend the right of all people to earn an education. Through the Malala Fund, an organization she co-founded with her father, she seeks to support education for girls around the globe. The fund advocates for policy changes which will enable all girls to complete at least 12 years of formal schooling. The fund is operational in six countries and works with international and local partners to invest in innovative solutions to provide quality secondary education for all girls.
In October 2014, along with Indian children’s rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, Malala was named a Nobel Peace Prize winner. At the tender age of 17, she became the youngest person to ever receive this accolade. Upon acceptance of the award she reaffirmed her sentiments, “This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change.”
This women’s history month, we honor Malala Yousafzai for her unparalleled courage and tenacity in the fight for the education of girls and women around the globe.