Why Everyone is Talking About Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani woman who has written a book, been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, AND spoken out against terrorism in her country to allow girls to get an education. She sounds pretty amazing, right? Jon Stewart of The Daily Show seems to think so too, as she was able to leave him speechless during a recent interview.

Did we mention that she's only 16-years-old?

Malala was born and raised in northwestern Pakistan where she learned to love school and education. In 2007 the Taliban (a terrorist organization) started restricting women’s rights, especially their access to school.

On The Daily Show, she told Jon Stewart, “We are human beings and this is part of our human nature that we don’t learn the importance of anything until it is snatched from our hands. In Pakistan, when we were stopped from going to school, at that time I realized that education is very important. Education is the power for women and that’s why the terrorists are afraid of education. They do not want women to get education because then women will become more powerful.”

She explained that the Taliban acted with violence and terror, blasting schools and slaughtering people who tried to resist them. Despite this, Malala acted with incredible bravery and continued to go to school and publicly spoke out against the Taliban.

When Malala was 14-years-old, she learned that the Taliban had threatened her and wanted her dead. But she didn’t believe their threats right away and wasn’t worried so much about her self, but more about her father. She thought that the Taliban couldn’t be so cruel that they would kill a child.

Unfortunately, she was wrong. In an assassination attempt, a Taliban member shot Malala in the back of the head and neck. She survived, recovered and kept speaking out about women’s and education rights. Not  only has she become a symbol of hope and courage, but Malala is a worldwide figurehead for promoting education for young people everywhere. 

Watch her interview with Jon Stewart here.

Learn more about education around the world. GO