Malala’s Malady: The Continued Fight For Women’s Rights in Pakistan

Malala’s Malady: The Continued Fight For Women’s Rights in Pakistan

Courtesy of Pariba

Sabrina Abesamis, Opinion Editor

The past week has brought mixed news for Malala Yousufzai. Recent updates have confirmed her remarkable, even miraculous, recovery after she was shot twice by the Pakistani Taliban in mid-October on her way to school. Most recently, the Daily Mail reported that she and her family plan on remaining in Great Britain rather than moving back to Pakistan.

While this unquestionably seems to be the best option to ensure Malala’s safety, it feels like an unsatisfying solution to the original cause of her shooting: her women’s rights and educational activism. Not every Pakistani schoolgirl can move to the safety of England, and many of Malala’s own friends must now make their own stand to fight for their basic rights. These basic rights include more than just an education, they must assure that they won’t be poisoned when they receive it.

The United Nations’ cold figures are brutal: 40% female literacy rate and only about half of all children actually attending school. Despite the unprecedented levels of aid the U.S. has been sending to Pakistan, the money typically gets lost through corruption or oversights, preventing substantial progress. Living here, comfortably in Wellington, it is truly sobering to understand, or even begin to realize the magnitude of the problem these young girls face.

Malala’s shooting was supposed to be a wake up call, a call to action. But, despite the amazing global outcry for Malala just after her shooting, support is already fading to whimpers and the call, forgotten. Even as I write this article in early December, I worry about seeming outdated.

Therein my worries lie the true problem; this is an issue that persists and continues to exist long after the bright lights of our sensationalist media have left. The matter evanesces out of the public consciousness and conscience. The issue of women’s education rights is a problem that short-lived awareness simply cannot solve. The true path to ending this long and often bloody battle for basic human rights requires sustained effort and hard work. But, I am confident that this path will be worth it for the sake of the rest of the world’s Malalas.