Pakistani education and women’s rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, Monday held a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and advocated for the right of Afghan women and girls to education and work.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner met with Blinken and other officials at the State Department to urge greater focus on the millions of girls in Afghanistan being denied an education.
Her request follows the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the wake of the chaotic US withdrawal in August.
“Afghanistan is the only country right now that girls do not have access to secondary education,” Malala told Blinken. “They’re prohibited from learning
Before meeting, Blinken described Malala Yousafzai before cameras as “truly an inspiration — an inspiration to us, an inspiration to girls and women around the world” and as someone “making a real difference,” particularly when it comes to education. He said she was there to offer ideas as the Biden administration holds gender equity worldwide as a critical issue.
“So, I’m very much looking forward to talking to her about the work that she’s doing, the work that we’re doing, and to hear from her, her ideas about how to be more effective at making sure — as we’re working for gender equity — that girls and women have access to education,” Blinken said. “Welcome — it’s so good to have you.”
Malala, when it was her turn to speak, immediately raised the education disparities currently affecting Afghanistan.
Bravo Malala for standing for Afghanistan ‘s girls and education . https://t.co/Tc07UGrnkz
— zohra Yusuf (@zohradaoud2) December 7, 2021
She also said that she has a letter addressed to President Joe Biden from a 15-year-old Afghan girl detailing the school closures effected by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and requested Blinken to pass it on to the US leader.
“We hope that the US together with the UN will take immediate actions to ensure that girls are allowed to go back to this position as soon as possible and all the humanitarian assistance as needed for education is provided,” Malala said.
“We know this has been a challenge and we want more focus to be given to education and teacher salaries.”
Blinken said that he looks forward to talking with Malala about her work and hearing “her ideas about how we can be more effective” in pushing for gender equity.
Malala, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, survived a 2012 assassination attempt at the hands of a Taliban gunman in Swat, Pakistan, over her advocacy to ensure girls’ access to education.