Is there a gender gap in education? Most definitely.
I personally am lucky enough to live in an area of the world that is extremely fortunate with regards to equal opportunities for all people. The education system in California in particular is especially renowned for being very equal-opportunity, while providing a very good education. However, I know that in most other areas of the world, the education systems are drastically different, and students do not receive the same opportunities as the students of Notre Dame High School do.
The story of Malala is immensely inspiring, especially because this amazing advocate of women’s educational rights is even younger than me, and I aspire to one day be as passionate and as courageous as she is. In addition, Malala has an inspirational and profoundly kind heart. Despite having been attacked by militia on her schoolbus, she feels no resentment or hatred towards the group or even the specific person that shot her. Instead, she feels the need to peacefully spread her message of global education to all who do not understand it, and she views her survival as a calling to her cause. When asked if she is afraid of being killed by the Taliban, Malala replied, saying that if even death supports equal education for both genders (because she survived the attack), how can she possibly be afraid of dying?
Malala’s message, I feel, applies most primarily to girls and young women in countries in which education is not readily available for them. However, unequal education opportunities for women versus men are still subtly present here in the United States. Coming from a single-gender high school, I do not have much personal experience with the issue. However, I still know that in many of the poorer locations around the country, girls and women are unable to attend school because they are expected to care for siblings, perform household chores, or work a job to earn money. In addition, sexism is prevalent in many co-ed schools, in which girl often feel as if they cannot speak out in class or ask a question.
Malala Yousafzai is an inspirational advocate of female educational rights around the world. What I find most impressive is her ability to continue spreading her message, not deterred in the slightest at having been shot in the head by a member of the Taliban. With people as brave and as passionate as Malala in this world, I believe that one day we will be able to reach educational equality for both genders. ☪