Powerful words were exchanged when Emma Watson sat down with Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, last week and interviewed her. “I am a feminist, and we all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality,” said Yousafzai.
Watson stated in a Facebook post that while planning for the interview she originally had a question about whether or not Yousafzai was a feminist, but when conducting research she learned that Yousafzai had never identified as such, so Watson decided to remove the question. During the interview however, Yousafzai delivered the answer anyway when asked a question regarding her father’s advocacy for women’s rights. Yousafzai shared that both her and her father identify as feminists and that people should stop being so afraid of the word.
The word “feminist” has taken a negative connotation throughout the years, because people have forgotten what it actually means. As Yousafzai stated, it is simply another word for equality.
Feminism is literally defined as the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes. Unfortunately, when some people hear the word they think it is about crazy, men-hating women, which is not the case at all.
Feminism is about treating all people as what they are, human beings. It’s about not discriminating based on gender. Rather than fearing the word, people should really be afraid of the drastic inequalities many women face around the world.
It’s not just about dress codes and not wearing bras, it’s about giving women around the world access to health care, sanitation, clean water and education. These are all basic human rights that women in numerous third world countries do not have. Imagine that: not being allowed to be educated or have proper sanitation just because of your sex, something you are born with.
Something I find extremely inspiring about these women is their recognition for the necessity of men’s support of this movement. This is not just a battle for women; men are needed if we want any chance of equality. Together we can change the world. This change will not come until we realize we are all humans and deserve the same rights and quality of life.
It is amazing to me that Yousafzai, at just 18 years old, has done so much for this movement. She started her own organization “The Malala Fund,” which aims to raise money and awareness for this issue.
Yousafzai states in the interview “it is my simple dream…I want to see every child get quality education.”
This is the goal of the Malala Fund: to see every child go to school, especially those 66 million girls that are not allowed to. Yousafzai was once one of those girls who struggled to get an education and was shot in the face by the Taliban because of her passion for knowledge. So next time you are struggling to go to your 9:05, think about all of the children who would risk their lives to sit in a classroom.