The enduring lesson Malala teaches us about ‘Women’s Roots’

Pakastani teen Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the rights of girls and women.

Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for daring to blog for the BBC that girls had a right to be educated in her country, historically joins a log list of girls and women who have fought for centuries for that right, considered an undeniable right for their brothers.

“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.

Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.

On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”

— Malala Yousafzai, Jan. 3, 2009 BBC blog entry

Through the centuries, there have been many reasons put forth for denying girls an education: They have been considered too fragile to be burdened with thinking deeply, which was, as said, bad for their health; incapable of thinking deeply as they were considered to have smaller brains; unworthy of time spent on them as they were only going to be family cooks and mothers; a cause of fear that, educated, they might disturb others with their desire for fair treatment.

But ultimately the reason was, it benefited the male establishments wherever they were, whether it be in the Bedoin tents in the Sahara, the Maharaja palaces in the Mideast, the tenements of London, or the factories in the United States.

The world united behind Malala as she nearly died for standing up and speaking out for women’s rights.

This is on a par with dictators’ denying education for the masses so they would not learn enough to think for themselves, rather than as the dictators wanted them to think.

Denying education does benefit those who would keep the populace, and women particularly from seeking a better life for themselves.

Who knows, if Malala succeeds in her efforts, girls may become engineers, philosophers, architects of public housing, and maybe even builders of peace for their country

For further discussion of education of girls, see Women’s Roots: The History of Women.

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About June Stephenson

June Stephenson is the author of 20 books about women’s issues, parental responsibility, the humanities, philosophy, comparative religion, music, architecture, parenting, sexual abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, incest, crime, women’s studies, aging, tyranny, family, marriage, and divorce. The accomplished author has a degree from Stanford in economics and a Ph.D. in psychology with 25 years of teaching experience in history and English. Stephenson’s well-researched and documented approach combined with an easy-to-read style, offers readers enrichment and enjoyment. She also is an award-winning artist with many red ribbons from juried art shows throughout California. Stephenson has two daughters and two granddaughters, and lives in Palm Desert, California, with her Labradoddle named Happy.

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