is the title of this New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof. Like the current recommended diary Never loved Lawrence O'Donnell as much as today ... it is about Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistan girl who is an advocate for the education of girls and who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban because she would not cease.
The issue of girls and women is a passion for Kristof. The book he co-wrote with his wife and the video based on it, "Half The Sky," demonstrates his long-term commitment.
I am not going to go through the column point by point. Please read it. Kristof points out that the shooting of Malala was not isolated, telling us about a girl in Indonesia who was repeatedly raped for her advocacy of female education, then publicly expelled in from her school - in front of her classmates - because she had been raped!
Let me offer just a few selections from this superb column to encourage you to read it and pass it on.
These events coincide with the first international Day of the Girl on Thursday, and they remind us that the global struggle for gender equality is the paramount moral struggle of this century, equivalent to the campaigns against slavery in the 19th century and against totalitarianism in the 20th century.Please continue below the squiggle . .
Kristof tells us
Here in the United States, it’s easy to dismiss such incidents as distant barbarities, but we have a blind spot for our own injustices — like sex trafficking.He reminds us that of our outrage over Jerry Sandusky abusing young boys,
But similar abuse is routine for trafficked girls across America, and local authorities often shrug with indifference in the same way some people at Penn State evidently did.He writes
One of my greatest frustrations when I travel to Pakistan is that I routinely spot extremist madrassas, or schools, financed by medieval misogynists from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. They provide meals, free tuition and sometimes scholarships to lure boys — because their donors understand perfectly that education shapes countries.He writes that the Taliban clearly understand what to them is a real threat, "the transformative power of girls’ education." He wonders if we do?
In contrast, American aid is mainly about supporting the Pakistani Army. We have tripled aid to Pakistani education to $170 million annually, and that’s terrific. But that’s less than one-tenth of our security aid to Pakistan.
A few thoughts of my own.
I have always valued the education of women. My mother was brilliant. My wife also is. I cannot imagine women of their brilliance not being able to develop their minds and their talents.
And yet in my lifetime of 66+ years there were states that did not allow women to serve on juries, there were societal bars to women in many jobs, there were many glass ceilings in business and government. Even today there are groups within our country who still advocate for a subservient role for women. While our society has improved during my lifetime, we need to recognize that our own history is not as sanguine on this issue as we might appreciate. Unfortunately John Adams did not listen to his wife Abigail when she wrote him "Remember the ladies."
Around the world we have seen some improvement in the role of women. Even in Malala's Pakistan, a Muslim nation, there has been a female head of government.
The world has far to go on this issue.
We will all benefit when opportunities are open to all.
Kristof has been a tireless advocate on issues related to women.
We would do well to listen to him, which I why I took the time to focus on his column.