Primary and secondary education for women has been a questionable area, especially in Asia and most of the developing world. Recently, the Into film festival was held in UK, which is an annual film festival for education for 5-19 year olds. HeforShe campaigner Emma Watson and Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai got talking about a documentary made on the life of Malala, name “HE NAMED ME MALALA”.
Malala’s father has had a great influence on her life, which makes her reckon that a few women who are thought of as ‘crazy feminists’ cannot achieve the goals of gender equality unless men come forward and work towards this change. “If we complain that women don’t get equal rights, it means that all things are taken by men; so they need to step back and say ‘we are here to support’. We all have to work together and that’s how change will come.”
The most beautiful thing about the conversation was the way both women were so appreciative of each other’s existence and work. Malala’s idea of feminism, like many others in the world was confused, she did not know if it was a good thing or a bad thing. This was until she heard Emma’s speech where she spoke on our struggle for gender equality, “If not now, when? If not me, who?” The words made her realize feminism was not really a bad word. “Feminism is another word for equality”, she said.
Together, these beautiful women (by all means) touched issues of religion and education as well, breaking the common idea that religion (especially Islam) doesn’t encourage women’ education. Drawing from her own religious scriptures, she spoke how Islam actually inspires people to live their lives in exploring, learning and discovering more. “The word Islam in itself means peace. I don’t know why it’s so hard to love each other.”
The ladies also spoke about politics, citing how it’s high time for the world to see the States have a female president, although they did not point out towards Hilary Clinton. Talking about personal success, Malala made the world realize that her material successes of a Nobel prize, a book and a movie were not her end goals, and her strife would only end when every child in the world received quality education. She hoped to be able to drive and see the change in her lifetime. She said, “It’s about the future of those 66 million girls who cannot go to school right now. It’s going to affect every one of us.”
They also addressed ageism. Malala, citing her example said that she was only 11 years when she was writing for BBC. She inspired the youngsters in the world to believe in their ideas and to work on them. “Age cannot put limit to what you want to do”, she said. Waiting to grow up usually makes us a slave to the system- an idea that takes people a lifetime to comprehend came so easily to Malala, which was truly inspiring.
What if all of us thought this way? We wouldn’t need this propaganda called feminism. “Why to hesitate? Why to stop yourself?”