Happy International Day of the Girl!

image of the International Day of the Girl Logo, featuring a lightbulb the filament of which is also an empowerment fist and the words: 'Day of the Girl: Innovate 2 Educate'

Today is also the second annual International Day of the Girl! This year's theme is Innovating for Girls' Education, and you can find a compilation of stories about UN Women's global work to promote innovation in education here.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka released a statement marking this day, which connects access to education with prevention of violence against girls and women and announces "the roll-out today of a new initiative to prevent violence against girls. The unique curriculum, Voices against Violence, will be delivered by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts among its 10 million members in 145 countries."
The curriculum was developed within a broader education and advocacy framework under WAGGGS' global campaign Stop the Violence; Speak Out for Girls Rights, and has been tested among 1500 members of the girl guiding movement in 25 countries. Already, those who participated in the pilot programme have measured and reported changes in the level of knowledge and understanding of gender issues, and engaged parents and community members in dialogues and actions.

[Content Note: Violence; misogyny; terrorism.]

Given that education is the theme of this years IDoTG, it seems appropriate to share this amazing video of Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Sakharov Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning on behalf of girls' educational access, on The Daily Show earlier this week. [H/T to Jess.]

Jon Stewart: Welcome back. My guest tonight—she's an advocate for girls' access to education worldwide—is the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her new book is called I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Please welcome to the program Malala Yousafzai. [cheers and applause] Nice to see you. Thank you for being here.

Malala Yousafzai: Thank you so much. It's an honor for me.

Stewart: It is an honor for us . I know me.

Yousafzai: [laughs]

Stewart: This is— By the way, I—we talked a little bit before the show; nothing feels better than making you laugh. I will say that. I enjoyed that very much.

Yousafzai: [laughs uncomfortably] Thank you.

Stewart: Uh, I Am Malala, it, it, it—it's honestly humbling to meet you. You're sixteen: Where did your love for education come from?

Yousafzai: Um, we are human beings, and this is the part of our human nature, that we don't learn the importance of anything until it's snatched from our hands. And when—in Pakistan, when we were stopped from going to school, at that time, I realized that education is very important, and education is the power for women, and that's why the terrorists are afraid of education—they do not want women to get education, because then women would become more powerful. [cheers and applause]

Stewart: That's exactly—that's exactly right. When did the—when did the Taliban come to Swat Valley? Because, before then, you just describe it as, uh, a paradise of sorts.

Yousafzai: The Taliban came in 2004, but at that time, they were quite good—they did not show they're the terrorism and they did not blast any school at that time. But they started the real terrorism in 2007. They have blasted more than 400 schools in Swat. They have slaughtered people. And in the month of January 2009, they—they used to slaughter even two, three people every night, and they have flogged women. We have seen the barbaric situation of the 21st century, and we have seen, like, the, the, the cruelty, and we have seen harsh days in our life, and those are regarded as the darkest days of our life. So, it was—it was really hard for us at that time.

Stewart: You describe in the book, still, no matter what, they took the signs off of schools, they, uh, they went underground, but they continued in the face of— You spoke out publicly against the Taliban. What gave you the courage to continue this?

Yousafzai: You know, my father was a great encouragement for me, because he spoke of—he spoke out for women's rights; he spoke out for girls' education. And, at that time, I said that why shall I wait for someone else? Why shall I be looking to the government, to the army, that they would help us? Why don't I raise my voice? Why don't we speak up for our rights? The girls of Swat, they spoke up for their rights. I started writing diary; I spoke on every media channel that I could; and I raised my voice on every platform that I could. And I said: I need to tell the world what is happening in Swat. And I need to tell the world that Swat is suffering from terrorism, and we need to fight against terrorism.

Stewart: When did you realize the Taliban had made you a target?

Yousafzai: Um, when, uh, in 2012, um, we were— I was with my father, and someone came, and she told us that have you seen on Google net, if you search your name and the Taliban has threatened you, and I just could not believe it. I said no, it's not true—and even after the threat, when we saw it, I was not worried about myself that much; I was worried about my father, because we thought that the Taliban are not that much cruel that they would kill a child, 'cause I was 14 at that time. But then later on I used to, I like— I started thinking about that, and I used to think, to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me, but then I said: If he comes, what would you do, Malala? Um, then I would reply myself that: Malala, just take a shoe and hit him, but then I said— [laughter] But then I said: If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others that much with cruelty and that much harshly; you must fight others, but through peace, and through dialogue and through education. Then I said: I'll tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well. And I will tell him: That's what I want to tell you. Now do what you want. [she chuckles; cheers and applause]

Stewart: Let me ask you— you know, I know your father is backstage and he's very proud of you, but would he be mad if I adopted you? [laughter]

Yousafzai: [laughs]

Stewart: Because you sure are swell.
Education for all. Education for all.

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