Recently, a documentary-film was launched- ‘He Named Me Malala’. The documentary tells the story of the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, and her how her willingness to get an education, and to fight for that right- nearly led to her assassination by the Taliban.
It should not even be a matter of contention, educating females, who are as much a part of the species as males. The late, great Cristopher Hitchens, always mentioned the oppression of women as one of the reasons he detested religion so much. As he always maintained- the one sure cure for poverty the world over is the empowerment of women.
However, some people read their holy texts, and decide that they have to keep the female of the species in subjugation. Of course the scriptures do not help, with their 6th century postcriptions- but somehow condemning that gets even the moderates of the religion on your back.
Something religious people rarely notice- whenever the outsider condemns the bad parts of the religion that is enabling fundamentalism, everyone stands together against the outsider- moderates and fundamentalist.
Back to the topic at hand, Harry Potter Actress Emma Watson (she played the precocious Hermione Granger), interviewed Malala on the release of the documentary. The near half hour long interview see the two discussing their roles as women, Malala’s activism, and whether she is a feminist or not.
Some excerpts to follow, with the interview embedded at the end of the article.
Watson obviously was awed by the entire encounter; this was how she introduced it on her Facebook post, where she shared the video…
“Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things… But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn’t messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter… And it doesn’t seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…”
When asked on what her main goals were, Malala said…
“Regarding the goal that I have set, it is very simple and straight-forward. Every single child should have access to education. Every child in the world should have access to primary and secondary education.”
On Feminisnm, the Nobel laureate said though initially she saw there were some negative connotations towards the word, she realised that is what she had to be. To her, feminism is just another word for equality.
“This word ‘feminism’ has been a very tricky word,” she told the actress, a noted feminist herself
“When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. And I hesitated in saying ‘am I a feminist or not?’ And then after hearing your speech, when you said ‘If not now when? If not me who?’ I decided that there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist.”
“I consider myself a feminist,” said the eighteen year-old activist. “Feminism to me, is another word for equality.”
“Your gender should not create any difficulty in the choices that you make,” she continued “It’s about equality, it’s about feminism, it’s about saying that we’re all human beings. Why would you separate us just because our gender is different?”
Malala also praised her father, who she said supported her in her dreams. Using him as an example, she said for true equality to reign, men and women must work together.
“My father has set an example to all parents,” she said. “If we want equality, if we want equal rights for women, then men have to step forward.
“We all have to work together for change to come.”
Watch the moving interview below…