Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani Children’s Activist and Women’s Rights Activist. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.
Yousafzai became an advocate for the education of girls as a child after the Taliban took control and tried to ban girls from education, going so far as to attack girls’ schools in Swat. She began speaking about the rights of girls to education in September 2008 with a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”.
In 2009 she began blogging anonymously for the BBC on her views on education and life under the threat of the Taliban. The Taliban’s control on the area she lived in intensified during her time as a blogger, they issued edicts banning television and music, banning women from going shopping and limiting women’s education.
Yousafzai was later revealed as the blogger behind the BBC blog and her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. She was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize the same year. Her growing public profile and critisism of the Taliban lead to death threats against her. In October 2012 a man boarded the bus she was riding home from school in and shot her in the head. She was finally discharged from hospital in 2013.
The shooting of Yousafzai brought her fight for education a global platform and over 2 million people signed the Right to Education campaign. The petition helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first right to education bill. In 2013 she was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people , put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize, won the European Parliament’s Sakharov price for Freedom of Thought and her autobiography “I Am Malala” was released.
Yousafzai is now a global advocate for the millions of girls being denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. She started the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change.
Additional information was taken from the Malala Fund website.