Malala Embodies Courage in Struggle for Equality

While 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head at close range by Pakistani Taliban on October 9 for speaking out about education for girls, the brutal attempt to silence her has only drawn worldwide attention to the oppressive gender inequality she was protesting.

Malala had been the anonymous author of a diary published by the BBC documenting the brutal treatment by the Taliban when it controlled the Swat Valley in 2009 and was shot for what the Taliban said was campaigning for the rights of girls to an education.

While Malala was in stable condition recovering in a hospital in Birmingham, England, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting and vowed to kill her if she recovers.

With his daughter in hospital, Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai said she will return to Pakistan when she recovers and is determined to continue her schooling.

Malala’s story has particularly resonated in the West. Within two weeks of the shooting an online petition by a Canadian activist attracted enough attention that the leader of one of Canada’s leading political parties formally nominated Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Malala’s inspirational work has, and will continue to have, an impact not only throughout Pakistan but wherever the equal rights of women are denied or threatened,” said Bob Rae, leader of Canada’s Liberal Party. “For this reason, and with the greatest respect for this young advocate, I am proud to nominate her for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.”

Nobel laureates are selected by the five-person Norweigan Nobel Committee.

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