Malala Yousafzai: an Inspiration to Us All

Malala Yousafzai: an Inspiration to Us All

Marielle Gleason, Staff Writer '16

As the Oakland Catholic community wrapped up the showing of Girl Rising, students were freshly reminded of an issue close to our own hearts: female access to education worldwide. The film ties in perfectly with the story of Malala Yousafzai, the most prominent advocate of the issue in our time. In 2012, Malala, a now sixteen year-old Pakistani school girl, was shot in the head by the Taliban for defending the female right to education; she was only fourteen years-old at the time of the confrontation.

In a world where female representation in the media is sometimes bleak, Malala has gained significant media attention for her heroic actions, becoming an international hero and a symbol of strength. Malala’s tragic experience has not deterred her from passionately promoting educational equality throughout the world. Since her recovery, Malala has been awarded The Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought, The Tipperary International Peace Award, and is the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala has also appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she revealed herself to be a supporter of peaceful activism, emphasizing that the use of violence would make a person no better than her attackers. “I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ Then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.,’ but then I thought, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib.”

In addition to her many achievements, Malala wrote a book, a memoir titled I Am Malala. As anticipated, the narrative has been banned in private schools across Pakistan, due to claims that it did not show proper respect for Islam.

At the age of only sixteen, Malala has accomplished incredible feats, not only  by sharing her inspiring story but also by courageously campaigning for gender equality and pacifism. Malala provides much-needed representation for females in the media, both as an educated Muslim woman and as a symbol of the strength and power that women are capable of possessing.