Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Young Woman's Courage to Fight for Education

When I was growing up, it was just understood that I would go to college. With the exception of my mother, everyone in my family got a college education. As a kid, you don't often realize how fortunate you are to have that kind of support - especially as a woman.

My mother was born in a different time. She still had regret in her eighties about not going to college. She is gone now, but I always wished she would have gone later in her life. Her father told her no woman needed to go to college. I'm so glad times have least for the most part.  And we just don't have the same obstacles here that women face in other parts of the world.

When I first read about Malala Yousafzai several months ago, I realized what a shining example she is of someone who not only had a father who believed in her, but he did it in a country where that just isn't done. His courage was clearly passed on to his daughter. Although they had made some strides with education in her country, it was taken away. When she fought for it publicly, she was almost killed.

In an article in the BBC News Magazine, it is obvious the support she had from her father contributed to her own bravery:
By the time Malala was born, her father had realized his dream of founding his own school, which began with just a few pupils and mushroomed into an establishment educating more than 1,000 girls and boys.
This was Malala's world - not one of wealth or privilege but an atmosphere dominated by learning. And she flourished. "She was precocious, confident, assertive," says Adnan Aurangzeb. "A young person with the drive to achieve something in life."
"For my brothers it was easy to think about the future," Malala tells me when we meet in Birmingham. "They can be anything they want. But for me it was hard and for that reason I wanted to become educated and empower myself with knowledge."
She is an extraordinary young woman, wise beyond her years, sensible, sensitive and focused. She has experienced the worst of humanity, and the best of humanity - both from the medics who cared for her and the messages from many thousands of well-wishers.
Women need to continue their fight for their rights to an education everywhere. There are even difficulties in the United States when it comes to poverty or obstacles being thrown in by people who are threatened by women who are more educated, outspoken, and powerful in business and politics. But, in the case of Malala, it is even more important. Because she is fighting as a very young woman who is also in real danger. She is wise, tough, and knows the fight ahead of her. For that she should not only be admired, but be honored as well.

No comments: