Today’s post is contributed by Prof. Carly Hayden Foster, who is currently teaching WMST/POLS 441: Women in Politics in America, and will teach both WMST 200: Issues in Feminism and WMST 490-02: POLS 449: Women in Lawmaking next Spring. Here, she turns her attention toward the devastating cost of women’s activism in Pakistan, considering the enormous bravery of 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai and the unthinkable consequences of her courage.
I was inspired, about a month ago, when I read about a brave Pakistani teenage girl named Malala. Malala wrote about the dangers and injustice she experienced living in the Swat region of Pakistan, where the Taliban has ordered the closing of schools for girls. The BBC carries her blog posts which vividly describe her experiences, and her fears that her own school will be closed, burned, or bombed, as happened in nearby communities.
And now I am heartbroken by the news that this brave girl has been shot by the Taliban.
Lest we get discouraged by the mundane, mid-semester feeling of too much work left and not enough time, let us instead take a moment to reflect on Malala’s bravery. As a teenage girl in an intensively repressive and misogynist environment, she spoke out against what she knew in her heart was injustice. She fought for her right, as a girl, to be allowed to go to school. She did this knowing that the men with guns knew who she was and where she lived. Malala understood the importance of school, and she put herself at risk so that she and other girls like her might get an education. As I write this, Malala is still alive, but unconscious, and on a ventilator. She is not likely to fully recover from the damage to her brain caused by the bullet. Let’s send Malala and her family, and all the girls who have to fight for access to education just because they are girls, our thoughts, wishes, prayers, and whatever else we might have to offer. Here are some links to organizations that help further the cause of providing education to girls.
Also, the Half the Sky Movement has links to additional gender focused global charitable organizations.
Perhaps the SIUE community could make some contributions in Malala’s name.