From Educating Women to Fighting For Leadership Opportunities
In this day and age, it is a sad truth to witness leadership roles and society’s ideals of female gender roles are not aligned.. Leadership qualities are thought to be masculine, while those thought to follow are the feminine. Unfortunately, this outdated ideal is still in place in modern society in the United Kingdom, said Naz Smyth.
Take, for example, learning institutions; equal amounts of men and women enter universities, though unfortunately we don’t see the same proportions of men and women don’t leading them. Presently, only one fifth of colleges in the United Kingdom are headed by a female vice chancellor. Another example of this is prevalent in CEO’s. Female CEO’s leads only ten percent of FTSE 100 companies. (The Guardian).
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, female education activist and the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Price winner, Malala Yousafzai, celebrates her 18th birthday by opening an all girl’s school in Lebanon according to Naz Smyth. Malala fights to bring education to young girls who are susceptible to becoming child brides. With the plight of the Syrian war, an entire generation of Syrian children is strewn throughout the Middle East in refugee camps and going without education. In order to prevent a generation from becoming lost, she uses the Malala Fund to bring education to shed light onto an otherwise bleak future. Malala hopes that the more educated and skilled girls are, the less likely they will succumb to becoming child brides (CNN).
For those who are not familiar with Malala Yousafzai, the following is a very brief summary of her claim to fame: Malala was born and raised in the beautiful Swat Valley of Pakistan, said Naz Smyth. During her childhood The Taliban moved in and claimed Swat Valley as their territory. They quickly took away what little rights women had, including education. Malala, thirsty for knowledge, fought for education. At eleven years old, she became an education activist. The Taliban shot the rebellious girl at age eleven, and by a miracle she survived and became the world’s youngest education activist. She is portrayed in newly published storybook, “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.” The “anti-princess” children’s book empowers little girls to rebel against males who police them. The book empowers little Malalas all over the world to stand up for what they believe in, and fight for their rights (BBC.)
It is never too late to be educated. One small town is proving that. In the rural Indian village of Phangane, a man named Yogendra Bangar started a school for the elderly women of the small town. Many of these little old ladies were child brides and due to the hardship of their lives, never had the chance to be educated. Their volunteer teacher, thirty year old Sheetal More, enjoys the opportunity to teach her village elders (BBC).
On opposite ends of the globe, the fight for women continues, said Naz Smyth. On the West, it is for equal leadership opportunities for women. On the East, it is for the education of elderly women who never had the chance to go to school. In between the West and the East it is for the education of young girls so that one day they may fight for the opportunity to become equal leaders.