Malala: Once you empower your daughters, you help yourself

By Rasha Abu Baker ABU DHABI, 29th October, 2015 (WAM)–Malala Yousafzai, the 18-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the face by the Taliban after they raided her school bus as part of their terrorist campaign against education for girls, has said that all fathers should encourage their daughters to get educated and support their journey towards realising their dreams.
Speaking on Wednesday to Emirates News Agency, WAM, following the screening of her new documentary ‘He Named Me Malala,’ in Abu Dhabi, a film which was produced by Abu Dhabi company Image Nation, Malala said that every member of society, both men and women, should protect a girl’s right to education, adding that women everywhere should ensure that their voice is being heard against all forms of discrimination.
“The message is simple, and it is to raise your voice. It is vital that women understand that highlighting the issues they face is very important. If you are being discriminated against it’s important to voice that and express it to society, to people, to the government and those responsible, and not just keep it to yourself and accept things as they are,” she said.
“Men should understand that once you empower your daughters, once you empower your sisters, you help yourself as well and not just them. You help your family in terms of finances, in terms of independence and it also decreases the burdens on yourself because if you have 5 or 6 daughters and you do not allow them to get educated and work, then you are making it more difficult for yourself as well, once you allow them to get educated and discover their potential to be something they want, you will help them to have a career and life. It is important to have a life.”
Malala said that many women think that speaking up might not make a difference or bring about change, but stressed that the more women step forward and make their voices heard, the more they can generate change.
Discrimination against women exists all around the world, says Malala, who is currently studying for her A levels in the UK where she now resides.
“In some societies, the issues women face are very clear, for example they are not allowed to get educated, have jobs, be independent, and to manage family finances. On the other hand there are countries where it seems like there is equality, and women have equal rights, but their rights are being ignored in some areas, like in receiving equal pay and higher position jobs, which are issues women are discriminated against in almost every country,” she said.
Malala said that the UAE Government has always been sympathetic to her story and very supportive of her campaign for girls’ education.
“The UAE has always been there to provide support from the start. When I was attacked, the UAE Government provided air travel support. I needed special care because I was in a medically induced coma. It was a very difficult time for me and for my survival and the UAE government helped at that time. Since then, they have always been supportive of my campaign and we hope that now, after the movie has been released and spread all over the world, we look forward to receiving more support so we can spread the message to every child and person and make sure that education is provided to every child,” she said.
Also speaking about how the UAE supported Malala during and after her plight, her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who was accompanying her, said that the UAE’s support of the documentary highlights the leadership’s keenness for female education and help them spread the message to various groups in society.
“The documentary is supported by Image Nation and highlights the social issues education, especially education for females, which is an issue very close to the heart of the UAE Government and its authorities,” said Yousafzai.
“They are now trying to convey the message to schools in different parts of the country to be watched by the Asian and Pakistani community here. It’s a great contribution because this is not the story of just one family, but is rather the story of millions of children who are out of school, especially more than 60 million girls,” he added.
‘He Named Me Malala’ was released on October 2 by American filmmaker Davis Guggenheim and was screened here yesterday ahead of the November 5th premiere at cinemas in the UAE.