Here on Cultural Exchange, we highlight the incredible work of women who are making a difference for women’s rights. Today, we would like to recognize Malala Day to bring awareness for women and girls’ equal access to education. Malala Yousafzai is an advocate for girls’ education. Her advocacy work started after the Taliban took control over her hometown in Pakistan and banned the right for girls to go to school. As an organization that is founded by women to empower women, we want to celebrate Malala Day in full support of Malala’s advocacy for young women through the power of education.
The Malala Fund
In 2013, the Malala Fund was co-founded by Malala and her father, Ziauddin. The Malala Fund is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating academic opportunities for girls. The organization’s mission is to support an education pathway for the secondary education of girls’ in underserved communities. From Afghanistan to Brazil, the organization works to eliminate gender-based discrimination to increase girls’ enrollment in schools, train young women to be advocates, and expand educational opportunities. Following the establishment of her nonprofit, Malala was recognized for her incredible work by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
The Malala Fund’s priorities in championing for girls’ education include:
- Changing social norms to allow girls to receive a 12-year education and make their own choices about their future.
- Calling for low- and middle-income countries to invest 20 percent of their budget, compared to the average 15 percent as of 2015.
- Ensuring education quality supports girls to develop the skills to thrive in the modern world.
According to the Malala Fund, the reasons more than 130 million girls are out of school include poverty, war, and gender discrimination. Other factors include: child labor, early marriage, conflict, cost, gender bias, health, and natural disasters.
According to the Malala Fund, investing in girls’ education is important because:
- It strengthens the global economy by an increase of $12 trillion USD as women join the workforce.
- It lowers infant mortality and child marriage rates, which gives the ability for girls to live healthier lives and raise healthy families.
- Secondary education can reduce the probability of war, allowing communities to be more stable and likely to recover faster after conflict.
- Effective investment against climate change decreases the vulnerability of a country to natural disasters.
Photo Courtesy of Malala.org
Today, on Malala Day, we celebrate her birthday and her incredible work. Thank you, Malala, for being a champion for women’s rights and equal access to education. We admire your steadfast commitment and leadership.