Malala’s Story & Female Education In The World

Can a young girl’s dreams affect the world? In the new century the answer is simple: YES!


The world is following a girl who has a very deep passion for her rights. This girl is Malala Yousufzai. She is a brave education activist girl from Pakistan. Her vision is to teach us again about the importance of the problem of female education.


Her story began with her blog on BBC website about living under the Taliban. The idea came from her father and she was only 11 years old when she started writing. She wrote in Urdu. Her region, Swat Valley, was controlled by the Taliban and they applied their austere interpretation of sharia law rules. They banned music and television, as well as banning shopping and education for women! She described her life under Taliban rules and she was not happy. Taliban destroyed 150 schools and stopped education for women. She did not accept that and she campaigned for women education rights on her blog. First she wrote anonymously and used the name Gul Makai but after she got famous and received some peace prizes her identity was revealed.



The Daily Telegraph’s correspondent from Pakistan, Rob Crilly, said “Malala Yousufzai was one of the few brave voices who spoke out” about her blog.

I want to give some extracts from her blog. They show how bad it is to live and study there.

In 3 January 2009;

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. 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.

On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace… to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone”

In 14 January 2009;

“I was in a bad mood while going to school because winter vacations are starting from tomorrow. The principal announced the vacations but did not mention the date the school was to reopen.

“The girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict [banning girls’ education] they would not be able to come to school again. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again.”


Along with many locals, Malala and her family went into exile from Swat Valley when a government military operation attempted to clear the region of Taliban militants. After that she began to appear on television and advocate her campaign for female education. For many Pakistanis, Malala became a symbol of resistance to the Taliban. She wanted to become a doctor but after her experiences she decided to be an activist and politician. After all her works she was nominated for the International Children Peace Price on October, 2011. Her public profile rose even further when she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize two months later in December. The prizes and fame can be nice, but they can be very dangerous too. After she became famous, the Taliban published death threats in newspapers, and also made threats on the internet, but these never stopped this brave girl. She continued to work for women education rights.


On October 9, 2012 Malala was shot to her head by a Taliban gunman. Pakistani Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying that ”She was anti-Taliban and secular”. After getting medical care in her country she was transported by plane to Birmingham, United Kingdom. Attack on Malala created a big reaction all over the world. From Madonna to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon, everyone denounced the attack. She became a hero of education.


Female Education Problem


Education is a basic human right. Every girl and boy should have an access to it, no regardless of gender, geography, disability… But the truth is not so easy. 66 million girls have no chance to go to a school. Girls are less likely to access school, to remain in school or to achieve results. Education helps men and women claim their rights and realise their potential in the economic, political and social arenas. It is also the single most powerful way to lift people out of poverty. Education plays a particularly important role as a foundation for girls’ development towards adult life. It should be an intrinsic part of any strategy to address the gender-based discrimination against women and girls that remains prevalent in many societies. The following links will further explain the necessity of girls/women’s education.


One of the important problems related to female education is sexual abuse. Adolescent girls in particular have much to gain from education. Those who complete primary and secondary education are likely to earn a greater income over their lifetimes, to have fewer unwanted pregnancies, to marry later, and to break cycles of poverty within families and communities.

Education is number 2 in the United Nations Millenium Development Goals. Here is some information about the education in the world:

–        Enrollment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.

–        In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school.

–        Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrollment has slowed down. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children of primary age fell by only 3 million.

–        Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills. 61 per cent of them are young women.

–        Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990.



Organizations like the UN, World Bank, UNICEF etc.. working so hard to solve education problems in the world. This is a challenge we must solve for better and stronger future. We must take on more responsibility. The challenge is to ensure children’s access to quality education. Education must include learning relevant to the needs, rights and aspirations of girls and this learning must be delivered in safe school environments that are free from gender bias and promote gender equality.


We Can Do It


This article is not an academic research. The only goal is giving some important information about the problem of education in the world and giving motivation to work on that. If you want to learn more you can visit the following links:


United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative /

Mother & Child Health and Education Trust /

ActionAid /

Global Campaign for Education /

Global Education First Initiative /

Women Deliver /

Girls Learn International /

Save The Children /


Good luck on your journey…


Some information also here.


Written by Özgün KAPLAMA, AEGEE–Istanbul

Education Working Group Board Member