Supporting education and activism on Malala Day

Sarah Jackson | Jul 09, 2013

On her 16th birthday Malala Yousafzai will be leading the first youth takeover of the UN General Assembly.

Malala’s Day

Since surviving an attempted assassination by the Taliban last year, Malala has continued to act as a powerful advocate for girls’ rights around the world. In 2009 Malala began writing an anonymous blog for the BBC Urdu service about her life in Pakistan and the restrictions to girls’ education. Later her identity became known as she began making public appearances in local and international media. In October 2012 on her bus-ride home from school, she was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ right to education.

The right to education

After her recovery Malala is continuing her studies in the UK and is once again advocating for the right to education. This week, she will join international youth leaders taking part in the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First initiative, which seeks to get all girls and boys into education by 2015.

There are many different ways in which gender inequality prevents girls and women from fulfilling their potential at school and in higher education. From child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and sexual violence to unequal caring and household responsibilities to direct discrimination in the classroom, in many parts of the world women and girls must fight daily for the right to learn.  Our partners in AfghanistanZambia and Ethiopia are tackling the biggest barrier to girls’ education.

Backlash against women’s rights

While Malala has become an important advocate for equal access to education, her story also illustrates the wider challenges facing women and girl activists. The attack made against Malala has drawn attention to a worrying backlash against those fighting for and defending women’s and girls’ human rights all over the world.

From the assassination of officials in Afghanistan, to attacks on female protesters in Pakistan and Egypt and the harassment of female politicians in Kenya, women human rights defenders face enormous risks every day. In 2012 the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition produced a global report (PDF) giving many more examples.

Support women’s rights activists

These attacks reveal the importance of providing support for grassroots women’s rights movements and activists who should not be left to shoulder the risks of calling for change alone. Echoing Womankind’s own Leaders for Change (PDF) briefing, a recent report (PDF) by the International Development Committee recommended an increase in support and funding to small-scale women’s organisations campaigning for their rights.

On Friday 12 July, Womankind will join the Southbank Centre’s Malala Day to celebrate the achievements and bravery of Malala Yousafzai in her work defending women and girls’ human rights, and to wish her a very happy birthday.

Help us support more projects protecting girls’ right to education by making a donation today.


31 comments

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  1. Pancho | Sep 15, 2016
    Love you Malala you are such an excellent role model!!!! You know whats best!!! Follow your heart and never give up!!!!!
  2. john | Jun 01, 2016
    I found this post very helpful Thanks for Sharing! Gmail
  3. Liv | May 01, 2016

    She is my hero 😍

  4. Lemmioin Dubbuk | Apr 18, 2016
    That's really cool!!!
  5. malakai ray cooper | Apr 13, 2016
    That was really good.
  6. Jessica Renee Barrera | Mar 22, 2016
    Malala I think you have a right to ask the government if girls can have an education. It is right to do that because it is not fair if boys can know what to do when they grow up but the girls aren't going to know what is going later on in life. So I think you had every right to do that because you don't think only if you had an education you care about every other girl and fight for them so they can have a good education as you do and if I were them I would have thanked you so many times because I would have loved what you had done for me. You had fought for every girl to have an education just like you want to have a good education so they should have thanked you so much.Last of all I wish you a very happy birthday because you deserve it because of what you did you fought for what was right and you deserve the birthday wish that I wish that you are okay from when you got shot by those men which I thought was very disrespectful because that wasn't right.
  7. Clare | Mar 16, 2016
    This is great! Malala has truly inspired me and changed my world!
  8. UR MOM HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA | Mar 15, 2016

    Malala is a respectable women, shes very brave, I would recommend you why she is brave and very strong.

  9. oogly boogly | Mar 15, 2016

    So touching what she does

  10. Izzy | Mar 15, 2016
    Great info!
  11. Esther | Mar 11, 2016
    I love this. I also love how Malala is such a great speaker with a gifted talent. It would be nearly imposible for me to talk up there and talk. I knowo that Malala was blessed with that shot. God turned something bad into something good.
  12. y | Mar 10, 2016

    you r completely right, keep it up

  13. nancy | Mar 07, 2016
    this is awesome 
  14. Emm | Mar 04, 2016

    Ow. My heart.

    Go, girls! :)

  15. demareo | Feb 29, 2016
    wow,so sad she did nothing to be shot/paralyzed :(
  16. j | Feb 25, 2016
    great story
  17. Annahi | Feb 21, 2016

    wow😄

  18. haileuy | Feb 16, 2016
    love it the article is awesome and i want more
  19. Queen Rosie | Feb 01, 2016
    Go Malala!!
  20. ki | Jan 28, 2016
    I read abort this in school and I got to say wow this is cool that somebody did this 
  21. nessa | Jan 28, 2016
    so amazing
  22. Piper | Jan 28, 2016
    Malala is a beautiful young girl that is strong and wise. This is a wonderful article.
  23. Preston | Jan 27, 2016
    loved it!!!!
  24. AIREYONA BROWNLEE | Jan 22, 2016
    I LOVE U MALALA U INSPIRED ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  25. Justin | Jan 22, 2016
    Thank You
  26. anonymous | Jan 21, 2016

    I think Malala is truly a real hero, and that all of us should follow in her footsteps to make this world a better place. Look where Malala has gotten. She's gone from protesting quietly in her blogs to changing the world and effecting so many emotionally and physically. She has made lives better for so many children. Lets all pray that she'll enter heaven

  27. anymious | Jan 21, 2016
    wow this is inspiring!
  28. from your friends in wyoming | Jan 20, 2016
    this is an awsome site and we all love what you do for us
  29. Rem | Jan 12, 2016
    I think she is right!!!! You go girl!!! ;) 
  30. kaitlyn rose jeffers | Jan 08, 2016

    this is the best story ever!!!!!!!!!!

  31. moma | Jan 07, 2016
    this article gave me a lot of info and expanded my knowledge

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