I fell in love with Malala Yousafzai after reading her autobiography I Am Malala: The Girl Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. I look up to Malala because she is only 2 years older than me and has accomplished more than the majority of adults. Malala was born and raised in Pakistan where she enjoyed the gift of school. Unlike most girls her age, Malala attended school in a country where education is only offered to men. She spoke out about this injustice, publicly promoting female education. In 2012, the young activist was shot on her school bus by a Taliban gunman.
The attempted assassination was in retaliation to her activism. Yousfzai was in critical condition before being moved to Birmingham to recover. In 2013, she released her autobiography explaining the details of the attack and her life afterwards. While reading it, I was inspired by her forgiveness towards her attacker. She explains that the attempted assasination is more reason for her to spread awareness about female education in the Middle East. I would have been terrified after such a vicious attack and would never even think to remain an activist. But Malala not only remained an activist, she became better than ever.
As a feminist, I believe that every woman deserves equal opportunities to men. I share this idea with Malala, who believes that women are just as deserving of education as men. After encountering sexism in the workplace a few years ago, I came home dejected and confused. Why should the boys receive favoritism when I work just as hard and am just as deserving? I thought about it that night and realized that I had to address the problem. Instead of being fired like I feared, my boss promised to address the issue so it never happened again.
Malala inspired me to speak out against injustice. Her message is a constant reminder to be thankful for the opportunities offered in the United States. I live in a country where I can be educated alongside men without the fear of retaliation. I also live in a country where I have the ability to speak out against sexism. I also live in a country that celebrates women and their many accomplishments. Malala is not afraid to be authentically herself and authentically woman. She will inspire me, along with many other young women and men, for years to come.