CHAPTER 11Your voice matters; be heard

When Malala Yousafzai was 15 years old she was shot in the face by members of the Taliban while riding home on the school bus. They were unhappy that she publicly advocated for the right of girls to be educated and were unwilling to tolerate it any longer. While the Taliban had hoped to silence Malala, their cowardly violence only steeled her resolve. After her recovery she said, ‘The only thing that happened when I got shot was that weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born'.

While Malala, now a Nobel Laureate, had been outspoken in her belief that all girls should have access to quality education before, she was now even more determined that speaking up for the rights of women was a cause worth committing to, even if it put her life at risk. Malala's courage to put her life on the line to speak against a regime and culture that oppresses women is fuelled by her knowledge that the cause she's fighting for, and the future she's committed to, demand no less. As Malala has said, ‘I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard'.

It's hard not to be inspired by Malala's courage. But the truth is that every one of us has things to say that need to be heard; and we all, like Malala, have the ability to speak more bravely. But to do so we must first take responsibility for ensuring that we're heard and not sit around waiting to be asked. It could be a long wait! ...

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