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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Why everyone needs to make a stand

Recently the brave and inspiring young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai was named a joint Nobel Peace Prize winner for her courageous efforts to push education for young girls in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan where it is frowned upon. This girl defied her culture and came back from a horrific attack by the Taliban who shot her in the face because of her advocacy of education for girls through a blog that garnered international attention. Not only did this plucky girl survive the attack but she came back even stronger to fight for the rights of all children to obtain an education. She is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I’m proud that I am the first Pakistani and I am honored that I am the first young woman or the first young person to be receive this award,” she said. “I’m thankful to my father for not clipping my wings and for letting me to fly.”
In a hugely male dominated country, and facing the wrath of a group that has gone to great lengths to oppress women, her father’s unwavering support sent these men almost as powerful a message as Malala’s; that men do not have to be threatened by the education and strength of women but can show their own strength by supporting them in their struggles.
Her situation may seem extreme to those of us who were raised with equal access to education but the fact remains that even in more socially conscious countries in Europe a wage gap between men and women still exist, even in countries where women have had more equal rights they face discrimination. And even in the “civilized West” women still suffer from violence, domestic abuse and rape at appalling levels.
Women are told to be careful what they wear, and where they go, and indeed if a woman wishes to remain safe she had probably best be careful about venturing out alone late at night. But the responsibility for this behavior lies with those who think it’s the woman’s fault. It is time that those men who do not stand up against this do so, that men make their voices heard alongside those of women saying that women deserve an education, equal pay, safe living conditions. So, kudos to Malala’s father for having the courage to stand up against the prevailing opinions of his society in defense of his daughter and her desire to fly.

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Why everyone needs to make a stand