Plan UK hope, through new awareness, to generate more signatures for their petition to put pressure on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to “lead action by world leaders to make girls' education a priority.”
Global statistics show that 1 in 3 girls are denied a secondary education due to poverty, discrimination and violence. If that doesn't convince you to add your signature how about the statistic that every 3 seconds a girl is coaxed, coerced or forced into a marriage?
The school girl and campaigner for education was shot because of her “pioneering role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation”. A fellow student and a teacher were also injured. Yesterday after President Asif Ali Zardari had Malala flowen to Pakistan for surgery it was reported that Yousafzai had survived bullet removal surgery, although she will be closely monitored by her doctors over the next 24 to 48 hours.
What is this pioneering role in preaching secularism and 'so-called enlightened moderation'? What makes a 14 year old school girl a walking target for the Taliban? At the age of 11 Malala began a blog about living in Swat Valley, published by the BBC under the nom de plume Gul Makai, “I...like the name because my real name means 'grief stricken.'” Malala also volunteered to appear in documentaries by the New York Times.
From 2009 Malala documented, as Gul Makai, her class's declining numbers and her school principal's recommendation that female pupils wear their own clothes instead of school uniforms in order to make their school attendance more discreet. “My friend came to me and said, 'for God's sake, answer me honestly, is our school going to be attacked by the Taleban?' During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taleban would object to it.” In 2009 alone militants destroyed over 150 schools in order to enforce the Taliban interpretation of Sharia law.
Malala has sacrificed her and her family's security in order to give a voice to all the girls of school age who watched as the Taliban edict banning all girls from education came into force. Watching footage of her this is an incredibly wise and self-possessed spokesperson, regardless of her age or gender, for girls and women across the world who are denied an education. According to International Day of the Girl Child statistics by 2015 adult women will make up 64% of the world's illiterate population, only 30% of girls across the world are enrolled in secondary education and 1 in 7 girls in developing countries are married before the age of 15.
The TTP have made it clear that this young woman, Malala Yousafzai is still regarded as a threat to be assassinated. They recognise the power this young woman could wield. We should too. This is one 14 year old girl. Look at what she has done, campaigned for and achieved.
Malala is just one of the remarkable young women who deserve an education, who should have the right to an education. Here's Malala again: “I think of it [a confrontation with the Taliban] often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
Here's that link to the petition again.