March 2, 2017


Future Women's History Month: Malala Yousafzai's Inspiring Courage

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Fuse is celebrating Women's History Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Women's History before our eyes. Today we are honoring Malala Yousafzai, whose courageous story and push for activism gives women around the world hope.

Yousafzai will be turning 20 in July, but the Pakistan native initially warmed our hearts (and rightfully gained our respect) when she didn't suffer defeat after a Taliban gunman tried to assassinate her in October 2012. But a few years prior to the attempted murder, Yousafzai spoke out against her country not helping girls achieve a proper education. The then 11-year-old activist became a BBC blogger where she anonymously wrote about her terrifying experience living in Pakistan's Swat district. She detailed a typical day under the Taliban in one of her earlier entries,

"I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban's edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict. On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone."

After her BBC diary ended, Yousafzai became more internationally known as she advocated for girls' education and won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize in 2011. Once the activist became more popular, the murder attempt came the following year. She was shot and injured in her head, neck and shoulder. It left her in critical condition, but Yousafzai is a truly powerful fighter. She was taken out of a medical coma after her recovery and strengthened her courageous voice for young women worldwide.

The activist received worldwide attention after the assassination attempt, and captured the attention of former First Lady Laura Bush, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Barack Obama (whom she later met at the White House in 2013).

Yousafzai transformed her unfortunate tragedy into an awe-inspiring story that shines a necessary light on girls who may still be suffering under wicked political powers. It gives them hope, assurance that this is not the end and that kind-hearted people always rise against evil enemies.

The activist resonates with people around the world thanks to her gripping words, which gratefully brought her to the United Nations and Harvard University in 2013 and earned her the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. She also received the Grammy Award for Best Children's Album in 2015 for I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World, the same year the documentary He Named Me Malala was released.

Her ongoing plight to make sure children have the rights and education they need, as well as her humbling spirit, is what solidifies Malala Yousafzai's place in the future of women's history.

We're celebrating Future Women's History all month long! Tune in to Fuse and come back to every day for profiles, videos and more. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder.