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Why Malala Yousafzai is the Most Powerful Woman of Our Time

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

I have idolized Malala Yousafzai ever since I first heard about her in my high school years. I remember hearing about the incident in which she was shot by the Taliban in a school bus at the young age of 16 for speaking in favor of women’s education in Pakistan (and globally, as well).

I was shocked when I found out that she survived, and immediately became obsessed with this powerful woman when I heard that she also went right back into speaking out for women’s rights. So, me being the avid reader that I am, I immediately read her book, I am Malala, and researched her life online.

Here are some things I learned from my slight, indirect stalking of Malala, which has since lead me to believe that she is the most powerful, badass woman of our time:

1. She was cooler and more accomplished than most adults when she was only a preteen.

Not only was she an anonymous blogger for BBC from the age of 11, speaking out about her life under the threat of her education being taken away by the Taliban and fighting for women’s education, but she was also awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize and Pakistan’s Youth Peace Prize and all before the age of 15.

However, her activism came at a cost: around the time of her awards and prizes, the Taliban began issuing death threats to her and her family, although she was only a child.

2. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

As a result of her activism for global education for women, and her fight against the Taliban and their suppressive forces despite her former life-threatening attack, Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize when she was only 17 years old.

Not only that, but even in her young age, she spoke beyond her years during her acceptance speech. In the speech, she told the audience that, “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too. I have brought with me some of my sisters from Pakistan, from Nigeria and from Syria, who share this story. My brave sisters Shazia and Kainat who were also shot that day on our school bus. But they have not stopped learning.”

3. She became the UN Messenger of Peace in 2017.

In April of 2017, Malala received the highest honor that the United Nations awards someone — she became the UN Messenger of Peace. In this role, Malala continues to fight for women’s education on a global stage.

4. She has an entire day name after her.

After speaking at the United Nations only nine months after being shot in the head by the Taliban, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon dedicated Malala’s birthday, July 12, to be Malala Day. This day serves to honor Malala’s continual activism for children everywhere, despite her struggles with the Taliban.

If you didn’t love Malala before, hopefully you do now! She is an amazing woman and should be loved by all womxn, everywhere and from every background. And, if you want to learn more about her life, be sure to read I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

Melissa is currently an English major at the University of California, Davis and, in addition to this, she is pursuing a minor in Economics. Melissa currently has a part-time job on campus in addition to writing for hercampus.com. You can follow her on instagram at melissa_hosking
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