Saturday, November 10, 2012

A day for Malala

Malala Yousafzai recovering in an English hospital.
Malala Yousafzai, 15, is sitting up and reading at a hospital in England.  She is recovering from being shot in her native Pakistan last month after the Taliban targeted her as a threat simply because she wants an education.

Yousafzai is a young advocate for girls' education in her homeland.  She became known as "The Anne Frank of Pakistan" after the BBC aired a series of her video diaries chronicling her activism.

According to a report submitted to the United Nations' Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) by the Global Campaign for Education, "Only four in 10 of Pakistani women over the age of 15 can read and write, compared to 70% of men. This dramatic educational disadvantage is the result of a deeply unequal education system. Although girls’ enrolment (sic) rates have improved, the net rate at primary level is still just 60%, compared to 72% for boys. At secondary level, the performance is even more
appalling (although the gender difference is smaller): the net enrolment (sic) rate for girls is just 29%. Altogether, more than 8 million girls of school age (primary and secondary) are not in school."

The report cites widespread violence against women in Pakistan as a major detriment to girls' education.  In northern Pakistan, the report says, "...girls’ access to education was 'severely'
restricted because of their families’ fear of violence whilst traveling."

Additionally, "Violent acts committed mainly by men against women within the context of the
subordinate status of women which society seeks to preserve include domestic violence; sexual violence; traditional harmful practices including female genital mutilation, honor killing and dowry-related violence; and human trafficking."

The report also notes that "strict family, tribal and religious customs (that have) become cultural norms" also play a role.

The shooting of Malala Yousafzai is certainly an illustration of patriarchy at its ugliest.

Today, the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and former British prime minister Gordon Brown, the UN's special envoy fo reducation, have called for a Global Day of Action in honor of Malals Yousafzai and ask that you share her story with friends and family.

Why not post this image as your Facebook cover and include a link to this post:

The right to education is a social, cultural, civil and political right not to be taken for granted.

Related Links:

Women in the World Foundation
A petition to award Malala Yousafzai the Nobel Peace Prize
Read the report, "Gender Discrimination in Education: The violation of rights of women and girls"

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