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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