Much has been written and reported about Malala Yousafzai, the young champion of women’s education. On October 9th, 2012, aged 14 years old, Malala was shot in the head twice by the Taliban in Pakistan. She was returning home from school on the school bus when targeted point blank by the militant group for speaking out about their behaviour and for the promotion of women’s education. Somehow, Malala made what is widely believed to be a miraculous recovery. Flown firstly to Peshawar, then to England, she survived a not only barbaric, but also life threatening head injury.
“The fact that she didn’t die on the spot or very soon thereafter is to my mind nothing short of miraculous,” Dr. Javid Kayani told Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC News.
The doctors who treated Malala told the BBC that her recovery was ‘a tribute not just to the quality of the care she received – but also to her own resilience and determination.’
This resilience and determination seems to define Malala, and her story exists as proof that both can get you through the most devastating of situations. We have written regularly about women who stand as pillars of strength, confidence and intense, but quiet, self assurance – Malala, now an international symbol of girls rights’ for education and security through her efforts to fight extremism and oppression, is a prime example of this woman.
Malala rose to prominence in 2009 when she wrote a blog for the BBC Urdu service about her life under Taliban rule and the lack of education for girls. “I wanted to speak up for my rights, and also I didn’t want my future to be just sitting in a room and be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth to children. I didn’t want to see my life in that way.”
She now wants to become prime minister of Pakistan, following in the footsteps of her role model, the late Benazir Bhutto.
Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai just missed out on winning the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Regardless of the outcome of the award, we decided some time ago that she would be this Monday’s Muse. Malala’s bravery and dedication to her cause we feel is truly, truly remarkable. She not only stands up for women’s rights, but in doing so demonstrates the female strength, sophistication and unwavering confidence we admire so much.
Read more about Malala with the BBC