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The status of women, currently & throughout history

Global day of action for Malala Yousafzai & 32 million
other girls across the world who are denied education

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Statement by Gordon Brown:

Gordon Brown was a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and is now UN Special Envoy for Global Education. On 2012-OCT-22, he posted the following message to the Huffington Post: 1

The world is encouraged as Malala Yousafzai continues her fight since being shot in the head by the Taliban simply because she wanted to go to school. This weekend when she stood up for the first time since being laid low by the dreadful attack, the world witnessed her standing up for 32 million girls around the world who are denied daily their right to go to a classroom and learn.

That is why we are declaring November 10th a global day of action for Malala and 32 million girls more. On that day, one month following the assassination attempt, as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, I will travel to Pakistan to deliver to President Zardari our million-plus petition 2 to make education a reality for all Pakistani children. We will let the world know that we will no longer accept keeping girls out of school. You can find out more and sign the petition by visiting

When I hand him the petition I will ask the President to lead governmental changes in policy to ensure the delivery of girls' education in Pakistan. I will also submit our petition to the United Nations to galvanize international support for the right of every child to go to school.

I will announce in addition a new foundation in Malala's honor as just a few weeks before her shooting she told her friends that her aim was to set up the Malala foundation to campaign for the 32 million girls around the world who are not at school.

I am now appealing to the international community of global citizens to lead this day of action.

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Malala was prevented from going to school because Taliban ideologues favor discrimination against girls, believing girls' education is an obscenity. As Malala recognized, discrimination takes many forms, some of which are close to exploitation. In Bangladesh, for example, girls of ten years of age are snatched out of schools to become child brides, denied their childhoods. Across the globe nearly 100,000 girls are conscripted as child soldiers, robbed of their childhoods, while millions of others are forced into child labor and either kept out of school entirely or made to sacrifice their full learning potential.

Change is possible. Indeed it is not only possible -- it is the only alternative. We must continue the momentum from the UN Secretary-General's Education First initiative to show that for the first time in history, the world will no longer let education be a privilege for the few -- but instead a right for all. On November 10th, we need to show our solidarity with Malala as global citizens.

Many are asking what they can do to show support. My response: what can you not do?

First, we all must add our names to the petitions so that more than one million people from around the world have declared their support, by visiting Governments across the world must know that in the 21st century we will no longer tolerate keeping children out of school.

Second, we must tell our friends to lend their voice by tweeting and posting "I am Malala" on our Facebook pages, and encouraging more to lend their voices to our petition. This is our moment to support Malala and we need to show her we are all here to continue her fight.

And third, on [2012] - November 10th, when I travel to Pakistan as the UN Special Envoy, we need to show that the world is in solidarity with ensuring education for all children in the country. The public must mobilize with local events and social media campaigns to show that we all are Malala.

The last day of 2015 is our deadline to ensure that all children are in school. The campaign has been renewed because of the public outcry at what happened to Malala. And now the campaign can only be realized with your action. Malala may lie in hospital and she may have been silenced for now -- but millions who now carry her message can find in the run up to Malala Day on November 10th an opportunity to speak for her and ensure that action on girls' rights and children's education is no longer delayed.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Gordon Brown, "Stand With Malala on November 10th," Huffington Post, 2012-OCT-22, at:
  2. "I Am Malala," The Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, at:

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Originally written: 2012-OCT-23
Latest update: 2012-OCT-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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