After surviving a brutal attack for wanting girls to have access to education, Malala Yousafzai made history as the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize sharing it with children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Learning from courageous girls around the world can help our own daughters realize that even against the most difficult situations, persistence and a belief in a cause can lead to ultimate triumph.
In honor of Yousafzai’s commitment to international education for women and children, here are five quotes to inspire you to go out and make a change in the world today:
- “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.”–From a speech given to the UN Youth Assembly, just nine months after her attempted assassination.
- “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”–From a speech at Harvard in September 2013.
- “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” –-From a speech at Harvard in September 2013.
- “I believe it’s a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear and if a woman can go to the beach and wear nothing, then why can’t she also wear everything?”–From an exclusive interview with The Guardian’s Kamila Shamsie. Yousafzai opened up about her thoughts regarding the burqa conversation in the UK.
- “If he [the Talib] comes, what would you do Malala? …If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others…with cruelty…you must fight others but through peace, through dialogue and through education…then I’ll tell him [the Talib] how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well… that’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”–In a Daily Show interview. Yousafzai’s comments left Jon Stewart speechless, and prompted him to ask if he could adopt her.”
In North America, girls having access to education can be taken for granted. Sharing Yousafzai’s story with our girls will help them not only realize our bountiful gifts here but also may inspire them to join a cause they really care about. Yousafzai’s experience demonstrates that courage comes to girls under different circumstances.
One of the greatest sources of empowerment can happen by taking action. It doesn’t have to be as monumental as Yousafzai’s plan to make education accessible for girls and women. Staring with one small step can be all that is needed like helping a fellow student when she feels criticized by others. Making a decision not to join a group text that is negative and could make the recipient feel bad about themselves is another way your daughter can help others feel strength and encouragement.
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