Malala Yousafzai Is Now Face of Global Girls Education Movement
Malala Yousafzai did not trade in her modest head scarf for a pair of skinny jeans. She wanted to go to school.
For that, the Taliban tried to kill her. When her attackers learned that the freckled 14-year-old Pakistani might survive, they promised to finish the job. Malala, they explained, had been “promoting Western culture.”
The Taliban has committed all manner of atrocities over the years, many of them aimed at women. This time, the militants created an icon for a global movement — for the notion that the most efficient way to propel developing countries is to educate their girls. The idea has been flourishing in some of the world’s most destitute and volatile places. Today, courtesy of the Pakistani Taliban, it has a face.
“People think ‘Western values’ is wearing jeans and sipping pop. Malala was doing none of that,” said Murtaza Haider, a Pakistan native and the associate dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto’s Ryerson University. “All she said was: ‘Would you be kind enough to reopen my school?’ This is what the Taliban thinks is a ‘Western value.’ This is not a Western value. This is a universal value.”