Malala Yousafzai is the young Pakistani girl who was targeted by the Taliban, pulled from her school bus in the Swat Valley in Pakistan in October 2012, and shot in the head and neck because of the advocacy of herself and her father of education for girls in Pakistan. Here she is speaking to the U.N. yesterday last Friday, July 12. (I believe it was n her 16th birthday.) Her recovery if, of course, remarkable, but what is even more remarkable are her words and her delivery of them. (It’s worth taking a look at some of the terrible comments that have been made to this remarkable video.)
We talk about a war against women in the States – and one is very conscious of this as a woman. But it seems important to keep the context of the bigger picture in mind, which involves the subjugation of women, girls, children all over the world. This subjugation relies on the denial of education for girls as well as opportunity and freedom of women – every day, there are stories of schools being blasted, teachers, social workers, students, parents, threatened and killed. The speech is about 17 minutes long. Even a few minutes is well worth your time.
If you do not know Malala’s story (or much about the plight of girls’ education in Pakistan), here is the link to the original New York Times documentary that initially garnered attention to her; a wonderful film by Adam B. Ellick.
Here’s finally a link to a not-very-good poem by me (well, okay poem) written about Malala right after she was shot.
Finally, we are, thankfully, in a whole different ecosystem re women and education in the United States. But here too there are continual assaults on education, especially on education related to science, but also on education generally: school budgets slashed, early childhood education attacked, teachers demeaned, loans for college made unaffordable, and a culture that increasingly denigrates the importance of facts, knowledge, study. This is important stuff. We are so lucky to have the possibility of education here – let’s take advantage of it, and try to help others also (i) have a chance for it, and (ii) see the importance of it.