Just three months after the Taliban tried to assassinate her to silence her advocacy for education for girls in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai is going home — at least “home” to her family currently living in Great Britain. Her remarkable recovery is a source of cheer and encouragement for all of us who believe that the education of women and girls is the best way to bring about permanent social change. Unfortunately, even as she rejoins her family while continuing her recovery, the Taliban continue to issue threats against her. It’s hard to imagine a more depraved goal than to desire the death of a 15 year-old girl who only wants to learn.
Malala’s story is one of many examples of the treacherous conditions for women that still exist throughout the world. India is still reeling from the brutal gang rape of a woman and her male companion on a bus in India; the woman later died from her injuries. In the subsequent outpouring of grief and anger, the world has learned that such attacks appear to be frequent in the world’s largest democracy.
In the United States, there’s often a polite scrim across women’s issues these days — we hail Hillary as a potential nominee in 2016 and celebrate the fact that the U.S. Senate now has 20 women (20%! But women are more than 55% of the U.S. population!). Meanwhile, however, too many women even in this advantaged country continue to suffer poverty, abuse and diminished educational horizons because of conditions that repress women’s advancement.
As we start this new year at Trinity, let’s renew our century-long commitment to the education and advancement of women, not only here in D.C. but throughout the global village. What can we do here to make a difference for all of the Malalas throughout the world? Your ideas are welcome…..