Nobel Peace Prize recipients are made up of a myriad of unique members who have different races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities. The most recent recipient, Malala Yousafzai, is another one of those individuals who has become a symbol for the advocacy of education, especially for girls in developing countries. The education of girls is important not only as a matter of respecting a basic human right for half the population, but as a powerful force for economic development and achieving social goals.

In 2009, at the age of 11, Yousafzai began writing an anonymous blog for BBC about the growing influence of the Taliban in her home district, Swat (located in northern Pakistan), and the measures they were taking to prevent girls’ education. She wrote about how the Taliban would shut down and even blow up schools in the area and also began to publicly advocate for female education through the news.

In October 2012, the Taliban stopped and boarded Yousafzai’s school bus and shot her point blank in the head. Remarkably, she survived the ordeal and was brought to England, where she underwent surgery and recovered rapidly. In 2013, almost a year after her near-death experience, her memoir “I Am Malala” was released. Earlier on July 12, 2013, her 16th birthday, she spoke at the United Nations.

Yousafzai’s cause is one that has brought the global community together to promote peace and human rights. She has meant so much to people, especially for women, who do not have a voice because of oppression and fear. In some respects, Yousafzai is a “martyr” for this cause. Her experience was a catalyst; she has been able to transcend the fear and transform her near-death experience into strength.

In the past, societies have given preference to boys over girls when it comes to educational opportunities. Even though laws have been put in place in different countries in an attempt to make education equal, many of these laws have not been supported. The constraints within society discourage and even deny girls from having an education. In some parts of the Middle East, the Taliban or other extremist groups strictly enforce the inequality that women face and will torture or even murder anyone who tries to disobey the laws placed on women.

Gender equality can begin with appropriate schooling environments, practices free of discrimination and consist of equal opportunities for boys and girls to realize their full potential. Girls who receive basic education learn to protect themselves against violence, abuse, trafficking and better understand how to prevent disease, such as HIV/AIDS.

Educated women can also make more significant economic contributions and can help to influence voting so that optimal political outcomes can support a more stable, peaceful, productive and cohesive society. Cultural norms involving early marriage or ones that pull kids out of school when they reach a certain age does not benefit children. Cultural norms in developing countries’ societies suggest that poor children are better off working in the fields and supporting their families. These are issues that need to be addressed by government policy and publicity.

Yousafzai has become a widely recognized and inspiring figure. She has shown great courage, leadership and communication that is shaping and changing the status quo of how education is looked at.

The fact that she is only a 17-year-old girl only adds to her appeal. Because of her young age, younger people seem to be more in tune with what her story is and what it means. Her message, fighting inequality through peace, dialogue and education, has resonated throughout the world. She also supports the idea that education teaches equality, justice, respect and how to live with one another, no matter how different people’s backgrounds may be.

Recent winners, such as Barack Obama, Liu Xiaobo and the European Union, have shown a pattern that promotes democracy, human rights and economic justice. These winners are bringing the global community together in a way that brings about the advancement of peace.

The joint win of Yousafzai, a Muslim Pakistani and her fellow recipient, Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights advocate, shows that even though these two countries have bad relations, there is a common struggle that transcends borders, politics and religious differences.

Both of their home countries have undergone similar social problems such as extreme poverty, subjugation of children and gender inequality. Hopefully, this will show that these countries have more commonalities than differences and that they need to fight for education and peace for women and children.

The support of women and children needs to begin by ending poverty and violence, which can be attained by promoting education. Many women are fighting back against their discriminating oppressors by seeking an education and becoming more vocal about it, thanks to influences like Yousafzai.

There have already been great strides in education. Literacy rates for children are now well above those for adults, which will greatly affect future generations. But don’t let that fool you; despite recent progress, gender disparities remain in many countries. It will still take time until more women and children in the world will have the opportunity to fulfill their potentials.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.