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Malala Yousafzai Couragiously Defends A Girl's Right To Education

1686 words - 7 pages

Malala Yousafzai is a 16 year old Pakistani schoolgirl and advocate for education of girls, whose rising popularity caused hatred for her and her cause by the Taliban. She rose to international fame after surviving an attempted assassination on her way back from school. Before the shooting she had received several death threats, but she stood firm in her belief that all young women should have the right to an education and did not tone down her message. Following the assassination attempt, she showed courage beyond her years when dealing with a difficult recovery process, further demonstrating her true strength and perseverance. Young Malala's development of techniques to deal with the challenges she faced include the psychological concepts of gender schema, Kohlberg's "post-conventional morality," and Erickson's stage of identity vs. role confusion.
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12th 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan, which is located in the Swat Region. The Pakistani Taliban, an Islamist military group based in northwestern Pakistan, had previously attempted to ban girls from attending schools in the Swat Valley, a practice that Malala spoke out against. Malala's greatest influence for her actions was perhaps her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, an educator, poet, and activist in his own right. It was due to her father's influence that she wrote the speech entitled: "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" Before long, she wrote anonymously for a BBC blog, detailing with the Taliban's increasingly repressive actions, including school bombings, reaching into the Swat Valley. Her popularity rose and she became the recipient of numerous awards including Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize in 2011. Despite Taliban death threats, Malala did not end her activism. On October 9th, 2012, on her way back from school, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, and shot her in the head at point blank range. Miraculously she survived, with a renewed mass of global support, and continued to speak out, including in recent meetings with world leaders.
The first psychological concept that played a role in Malala's development and ability to face challenges is refusal to adhere to a particular gender schema. Gender schema refers to a theory that children understand gender roles from their culture and environment. The theory states that children shape their behaviors to coincide with the gender norms of their society. In Malala's case gender schema is relevant in that gender schema played a large part in her struggle for girls' education. Pakistan, like much of Asia and the Middle East, has well defined roles for boys and girls, with girls taking a much more submissive position in society in attire, speech, and as evident here - education. In fact, the existing gender schema was perhaps the reason that so few women and girls were being able to speak out against the very visible threat of Taliban repression. Gender schemas...

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