December 10 has been declared Human Rights Day. This is a day for all of us in the West, in particular, to pray for those who live under autocratic, theocratic, despotic regimes who deny their citizens their humanity. There is slavery on the 21st century. While we exclaim over the movie "12 Years a Slave," we ignore those who are enslaved today, in Sudan and North Korea.
2012 has proven to be an incredibly exciting and important time to be a woman. One especially important sign of this is the fact that we are re-discovering and using our voices. Now here's where our important work for 2013 comes in. All this ground-breaking awareness, strength and self-authority among women and girls must be protected and nurtured so it continues to grow.
On October 9, millions were shocked to hear that 15-year-old Malala Yusufzai, the Pakistani girls' education rights advocate, had been shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Tarek Fatah, decided to take a few minutes to put up a petition on Change.org asking the Nobel Foundation to select Malala for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. He never counted on helping to mobilize nearly half a million people around the world.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopped on the Malala Yousafzai bandwagon by signing a petition to nominate the schoolgirl for the Nobel Peace prize. But Harper's singular gesture will never buy respect from the advocates of fairness, equality and human decency. Only policy reversals can deliver that miracle. Only policy reversals can deliver that miracle.
On October 11, 2012 the world marked the first-ever International Day of the Girl. The celebration was bittersweet, though, given it occurred against the backdrop of worldwide shock and headlines concerning 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a young activist from Pakistan, shot in the head by a Taliban member because of her ongoing work and advocacy to ensure more girls get to go to school.