By: Camila Lopez, Junior
“We need to encourage girls that their voice matters. I think there are hundreds and thousands of Malalas out there.”
Women’s History Month, in March, is a time to celebrate the women all around the world who wake up each morning with the will to change the future. Whether it is through activism, art, education, or any other medium, each step they take pushes the world in a better direction. According to the official International Women’s Day Website, this day is “a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women.”
Still, I am drawn to ponder: as a woman, how can I celebrate my month? As I remember the inspirational women who have had an impact on my perspective of the world, as well as my daily life, I honor one such woman, Malala Yousafzai.
Malala Yousafzai, according to the website for the Malala fund, was born in Mingora, Pakistan on July 12, 1997. Her father, a schoolteacher, was determined to give her a fulfilled life with all the opportunities a boy would have in this country. After the Taliban took over her town, they banned many activities, such as “owning a television and playing music,” and they implemented harsh punishments for girls who would attend school. Experiencing these human rights violations stirred a passion in Malala to fight for her education.
This fight caused her to become a “target” for the Taliban. In her own words, as written on the website for the Malala Fund, this is what ensued: “In October 2012, on my way home from school, a masked gunman boarded my school bus and asked, ‘Who is Malala?’ He shot me on the left side of my head. I woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. The doctors and nurses told me about the attack — and that people around the world were praying for my recovery.”
The attack was intended to silence her, but it became the catalyst for a powerful movement instead. The whole world would hear her message: all girls deserve the right to at least 12 years of education, free from threats and violence. She later received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014, becoming the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. Now living in the UK as an Oxford student, she continues her fight for women’s education.
When I was in middle school, I read her book written with Patricia McCormick, titled I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. Malala’s words taught me to value my education, and my teacher hoped that some of us would be inspired by Malala’s story. We were.
Each girl in that classroom was inspired to work every day to take advantage of the education we received. Every girl hoped to become a woman like Malala. I strive to use the opportunities I was given and try to change the world in my own way, recognizing that the life I have is due to women like Malala. And one day, I hope to become an inspiration for someone else, just like these women are for me.
“About International Women’s Day.” International Women’s Day.
“Malala’s Story.” Malala Fund. malala.org/malalas-story?sc=header.
Some things to know about me are: I love to listen to music and laugh with my friends. I also like to volunteer at many different places in my free time in order to help and learn new things. I hope you enjoy my writing this year!