Voice of America (Washington, DC)

8 March 2014

Africa: Teen Activist Malala Urges Women to 'Speak Up'

International Women's Day is being celebrated worldwide Saturday.

The U.N. calls the occasion a time to reflect on progress made and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Pakistan's renowned teenage activist Malala Yousafzai spoke with VOA Deewa about International Women's Day. She was asked what advice she had for women and girls around the world. The teen activist called on women to speak up.

"My message to women and girls all around the world is that they should speak up for their rights. Because when you do not speak up our voices are not heard, but if we want to see a bright future then we must speak."

Malala Yousafzai earned notoriety in 2009 when she challenged the Taliban, in her native Pakistan, and their ban on girls attending school. In 2012 she was attacked by gunmen as she made her way home aboard a school bus. Yousafzai remained in a coma for 10 days, eventually completing her recovery in the United Kingdom. Today, the 16 year-old continues to fight for equality in educational opportunities worldwide.

This year's International Women's Day theme, "Equality for women is progress for all" emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women's full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development.

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