On Wednesday, April 12, Prime Minister Trudeau will present that citizenship to Malala Yousafzai. For young women across our country, it will be a moment of pride and hope. Her fearless stand is something Canada applauds. But recognizing her passion is not all Canada is doing to improve the lives of girls around the world.
The next global goals -- the SDGs that will take us to the year 2030 -- will need to build on the progress of the MDGs and go beyond them to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable population -- especially girls, and including people in the poorest and most remote rural communities, refugees, and women in minority groups.
This week, I'm celebrating Women's Equality Day and continuing the conversation when we not only talk about the issue of women's equality but how we can reach equality for all. This is also a time when we highlight some amazing women who shine a light on this issue and believe that we can get there.
One year later, what has #BringBackOurGirls accomplished? It didn't bring the girls home. Second-hand reports suggest that 57 of the girls escaped their captors, but the rest are still out there, likely sold off as child brides (or sex slaves). Recently, a UN official said there's evidence they may be dead. It's a sad illustration of the limitations of "clicktivism" -- the use of online media to advance causes. There must be a plan to engage supporters once they've clicked, and keep them engaged, even after the hashtag stops trending.
"If you are not educated, you are nothing." This terse statement comes from a young girl in Zambia, who was an appreciative beneficiary of the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) program. While I can't agree with the extreme nature of the conclusion, this girl's statement illustrates the power of education, particularly for females.
The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.
Millions around the world rejoiced when Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Canada will embrace Malala by granting her an honourary citizenship to recognize and celebrate her efforts to educate the girls in Pakistan. Today, we must also expose and confront the distorted narratives of those in Pakistan who systematically misconstrue facts and figures to discredit her.
Then, I started my gratitude rowing. Now going to the gym is something I look forward to rather than dread. Furthermore, as I progress in my new good habit, I see a universal truth: the more I am grateful, the more I have to be grateful for. This Thanksgiving, here are some of the many things I am grateful for:
While the announcement that Malala Yusufzai has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi of India was greeted with jubilation across the world jubilant, many in her native Pakistan have shown open hostility towards her while her admirers fear that she may now never be able to return to her birthplace.
I am Malala. I come from a lineage of women who fought stereotypes, racism and bigotry in their adapted homes in North America. I continue to fight it here in Canada. I am Malala because I understand what it is like to have others want to silence you, your beliefs and your actions. Each and every single Muslim woman who has been a victim of racism, prejudice and bigotry is Malala.