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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Every Girl Should Have The Right To Choose Her Future, Says Malala’s Father Ziauddin Yousafzai

  • IWB Post
  •  December 6, 2018

In 2012, the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai after she advocated for the girls’ right to education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, after which she was shifted to the UK for her treatment. Since then she has been living there with her parents and studying at Oxford University. Last month, her father, Pakistani education activist Ziauddin Yousafzai, released his memoir entitled “Let Her Fly“.

Narrating Malala’s tough journey of recovery and rising as an activist for girls’ education, the book also covers the struggle of her father as he fought against a patriarchal society. In a recent chat with Asia Times, Ziauddin Yousafzai discussed how writing his memoir was Malala’s idea.

“In “Let Her Fly” I share stories from my life and experiences as a son, brother, father, and of course as a teacher as well. The idea of the book was to give people the background of where Malala comes from. Many have no knowledge of the conflict in Swat and most people don’t know why Malala was shot by the Taliban or what her activism was like before the attack. The book gives insight into my family’s story and provides the backdrop to Malala’s activism,” he said.

The book also discusses progressive gender roles, where Ziauddin talks about how people often asked him about “the way I raised my daughter that she is so poised, courageous and smart.”

“I tell people don’t ask me what I did, ask me what I did not do – I did not clip her wings. People comment on the book’s title and ask, ‘Why do you say let her fly? She has already flown so high.’ People already know Malala’s story. So when I say ‘let her fly’, it’s a message to all fathers, brothers, men, women, everyone, to let the girls fly,” he said.

“Every girl should have the right to education – full, complete, quality education. Every girl should have the right to work, the right to be herself [and] most importantly, every girl should have the right to choose her future,” he added.

In the book, Ziauddin has mentioned that he first heard the word ‘feminism’ when he moved to the UK.

“I think people are afraid of change. We have divided our wonderful world into East and West. People are scared to “follow the West.” I just think people in the West are better at defining things and creating these labels. Because we’ve had many of the feminist values in our part of the world, but for some people, the word feminism is too hard. When I talk about feminism, I mean complete gender equality, social equality, and equal opportunity,” he explained.

He also shared that currently Malala is focused on completing her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, and plans to continue working for education for girls after she is done with her studies.

“There still are 130 million girls out of school around the world, but because of Malala’s advocacy, global leaders have started paying more attention to the problem and are spending more money on their education. This really encourages Malala in her struggle. And her plan is to continue the work the Malala Fund is doing and reach out to more and more girls still deprived of their right to education,” he said.

H/T: Asia Times



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