October 11, 2012- The first ever International Day of the Girl to advocate for the rights of girls and celebrate the possibilities can that be realized when girls are empowered. All across the world celebrations are taking place, from Dundas Square, Toronto to the Empire State Building in NYC- cities, billboards and hearts are glowing pink to acknowledge the need for girls rights worldwide.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time. As the world turns pink in recognition, 14 year old Malala Yousufzai currently lies unconscious in a hospital bed after being shot in the head and neck by the Taliban while she was trying to board a school bus to sit on the floor and receive an education in Pakistan. Clearly, knowledge is power and education shapes countries. As NY Times Journalist and Co-Author of the amazing book Half the Sky , Nicholas Kristof said in his recent article:
“[The Taliban] understand the stakes perfectly. They shot Malala because girls’ education threatens everything that they stand for. The greatest risk for violent extremists in Pakistan isn’t American drones. It’s educated girls.“
Can you imagine what the world would look like when girls were educated, empowered, listen to, valued, invested in and given their rightful places alongside their male peers? Oh the possibilities! The world has never seen that before!
As Martin Luther King Jr. bravely once said…“I have a dream”.
Let us pray for the brave little hero, Malala Yousufzai. She has a long road ahead of her, even if she recovers from this assassination attempt. The Taliban have promised to kill her, if she continues to speak out about education and Malala, in turn, had recently announced that one day she would like to pursue a leadership role in politics.
I pray that she, and many other girls like her, get the opportunity to.
Let’s stand beside our sisters and make this happen. I believe in the possibilities!