World-changing Women: Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, on July 12, 1997. She lived with her mother, father, and her two younger brothers.
Her father Ziauddin Yousafzai was a teacher and ran a girl’s school in their village. When Malala was born he knew that he wanted his daughter to have the same education and opportunities that were available to boys.
Malala loved going to school and was a great student. She attended Khushal Girls High School and College, the school her father had established and directed. In 2007 the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan invaded the Swat Valley, where the school was located, and the school was shut down.
The Taliban are a group of radical Islamic extremists that preach a very hardline form of the Sunni Islamic religion. Some of their beliefs include the public execution of those accused of murder or adultery, those caught stealing may have one of their limbs amputated, men were required to grow out beards, they banned television, they forced women to wear burkas that cover their entire bodies, including their faces, and girls above the age of ten were forbidden to go to school.
The Taliban were extremely against women having an active role in society. This led to them forcibly closing, destroying, and even bombing hundreds of schools.
Malala firmly believed that it was her and all the other girls’ right to attend school. She frequently spoke out against the Taliban’s rule and advocated for all girls to have the right to an education. When she was eleven years old she gave her first speech, protesting the school closings.
Malala’s beliefs and involvement in a movement that went against their teachings turned her into a target for the Taliban. She was only fifteen years old when the Taliban tried to assassinate her on her way home from school. A member of the Taliban boarded her school bus asking which of the girls was Malala, before shooting Malala in the head along with two other girls.
Malala survived and was flown to England for surgery. She was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her bravery and dedication to the fight for the right of education for all children. Her actions brought worldwide attention and support to her cause.
“Malala Yousafzai.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/biography/Malala-Yousafzai.
“Malala’s Story: Malala Fund.” Malala’s Story | Malala Fund, malala.org/malalas-story.
“Who Are the Taliban?” BBC News, BBC, 27 Feb. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11451718.