Stand Strong Girls

Archive for the tag “Malala Yousafzai”

2014: A Summary

2014 has been an exciting year on Stand Strong Girls, with new campaigns and victories. In this post I will do my best to summarise some of the topics that have appeared here this year.


One of the issues I mentioned this year was the debate of single-sex education versus co-education. Drawing on my own experience in both types of schools, I tried to reason out the pros and cons from both points of view. While I still remain firmly in support of co-educational schools, I tried to appreciate the advantages of single-sex education as well.

I also wrote about women’s universities. Their numbers are growing in developing countries, where they are often women’s only option for higher education. However, in western countries their numbers have decreased significantly in recent years. I am of the opinion that women-only universities are just a short-term solution to the problem of women still being barred from many universities.


This year was Read Women 2014, a campaign started by writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh that encouraged people to read more books written by women. At the moment, I’m doing quite well, reading Code Name Pauline. It is about the experiences of Pearl Witherington Cornioley, an SOE agent during WWII. The book was edited by Kathryn J. Atwood. Earlier in the year I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a novel based on SOE agents’ experiences.

Let Books Be Books campaign also kicked off this year. The campaign aims to put an end to the gender specific branding of books. Already several publishers and booksellers have got on board, promising to stop producing or selling gender specific books.

                               Adventurous Women

The Adventurous Women series began this year, a series of post about women who achieved, created or just did something different.  I have already written about the pilot Amelia Earhart, the nurse Mary Seacole and Sophie Germain, who was a mathematician. I also wrote about Katharine Wright, who helped to develop the first aircraft and Nadezhda Durova who served in the Russian cavalry. If you know of a woman you think deserves a mention, please let me know.


I’ve talked quite a bit this year about how children’s toys have changed from neutral and non-gendered to the pink and blue gender-specific toys that we know today. One example is Lego, which seems to think that girls can only build with pink blocks. However, this year Lego produced the Research Institute, featuring three female scientists.We saw it being put to good use by Donna Yates, who tweeted pictures of Lego scenes using the new set on @LegoAcademics.

                                  Malala Yousafzia

As an education activist, Yousafzia has made the news quite a few times in 2014. I read her book earlier this year, I am Malala, co-authored by Christina Lamb. Yousafzia also won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, along with Kailash Satyarthi, to recognise their struggle for children’s right to education.


I have written about campaigns such as HeForShe, Man Up and White Ribbon this year. One thing these campaigns have in common is that they are looking at the role men have to play in order to build an equal world. I think this approach is hugely important because it shows that inequality is not just women’s problem and that it is up to everyone to resolve it.

These are not all of the topics that I blogged about in 2014 but I think I have covered all of the bigger ones. I’ll be back in 2015. Happy New Year!


I am Malala – education is the key

I have just finished reading I am Malala by Malala Yousafzia, the teenage educational activist, and this post is the promised piece about it.

The major theme of this book is education. Malala talks about her father’s struggles to study and set up his own school. She talks about her mother’s lack of education and about the difficulties facing Pakistani girls who want to study.

Malala Yousafzia wants to be known for her efforts to support education, as opposed to having been shot by the Taliban. The ‘girl who stood up for education’ uses her book to paint a vivid picture of the educational problems in Pakistan. These centre on girl’s education, and of course, the attempts made by the Taliban or other people to take this right away.

Yousafzia considers education to be one of the most important rights of all, In thinking this she does have a point, education is the best way to break the vicious cycle of poverty that many people find themselves in today.

Yousafzia studied at her father’s primary school and girls’ secondary school. He also runs a boys’ secondary school. When the Taliban began to influence educational ideas in her area (Mingora, Swat District, Pakistan), Yousafzia was spurred into action. She spoke in public, on radio and on television about her beliefs. Yousafzia also wrote a blog about life under Taliban rule.

One of the points I found most interesting in the book was Yousafzia saying that, while the Taliban were in charge, the students in her school were afraid to wear their school uniform because it identified them as going against the Taliban’s school of thought. I have a school uniform and I think it’s extraordinary that there could be such a bad opinion of girl’s education that you would be afraid to wear yours.

I think that I am Malala is a very interesting book and well worth a read. Clearly other people agree with me, when I returned the book to the library  I discovered someone had reserved it, so it must be popular!

I am Malala

Just a quick post to say that I am reading I am Malala, the story of Malala Yousafzai. Malala is the 16 year old girl who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 because of her opinion that girls ought to be allowed to go to school. Since then she has become an international figure as an educational activist.

Her book, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, was co-written with journalist Christina Lamb. It is a very interesting read and well worth a look. I’ll be back with another post when I’m further into the book but that’s it for now.

B.T.W: Has anyone else read it? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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