Malala Yousafzai, a girl who had the courage to stand up for what she believes in. This past year, I picked up a copy of I Am Malala and have not been able to put it down since. This book tells the story of a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban on the way to school. When I first heard about Yousafzai’s story on the news a couple of years ago, it caught my attention because we are the same age and she was winning a Nobel Peace Prize for her accomplishments in advocating for girl’s education rights in Pakistan while I was sitting in a public school classroom, taking advantage of America’s freedoms.
In the “Education” keywords essay, there was a discussion about what an education is really providing and whom it is providing those opportunities to. The one definition that stuck out to me was “primarily an institutional practice, which, after the late-eighteenth century, is increasingly formalized and universalized in Western countries.” When I think about the education that I have received, it has been formal and universal, which I think a lot of people take for granted in the “free” countries. I think that even if America did not have a law requiring us to go to school, many would still go because it sets a foundation for our future. In I Am Malala, “education” is perceived in a different light. The women are meant to stay home and perform the various domestic tasks while the men go to a formal school to obtain an education. However, that all changed when Malala stood up for what she believed in, which was equal education for all, no matter what it took. Malala and her family had to go through a lot to make sure that young girls were able to get their education so they too go out and get a normal job. For example, when someone came to complain about how the girls and boys used the same entrance, Malala’s father had a separate entrance put in. Malala’s movement started in Pakistan and continues to move. Malala has won many prestigious award and even has her own documentary.
I know this sounds horrible, but if Malala had never been shot, then nobody in the Western countries would have ever learned about how horrible education inequality is in war torn countries and we would have never been able to stop it. One day I will tell my children about her and how she is a great representation of fighting for what you believe in. Don’t stop believing!