Malala Yousafzai Promotes Girls' Education, Offers Solutions, on Letterman Netflix Episode
"I would hope that many people would have stood up and stood up against extremists, against not just the extremists, not just the people, but against the ideology because that's what we have to fight against: the ideology that exists there that does not accept women as equal to men..."
By Aaron Brophy
Nobel Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai used her appearance on David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction program to promote women's education and equality, while confronting extremism and America's uneven human rights record while President Donald Trump has been in power.
Yousafzai, 20, won her Nobel Prize in 2014 for campaigning for the right of all children to receive an education. Born in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, when she was a pre-teen Yousafzai contributed blog reports for the BBC about what life was like in the Taliban-occupied area of Pakistan where she lived. In October 2012, when she was 15, a Taliban gunman attempted to assassinate her for her activism, hitting her with a bullet that struck her head, neck and shoulder. Since recovering, Yousafzai has become an even more prominent activist, to the point where German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle called her the most famous teenager in the world.
She used her time with Letterman to repeatedly reinforce the importance of providing an education for girls and women, particularly those who are impoverished and with fewer means.
"The governments need to invest more money into education. Business people, everyone who is part of society, they need to start thinking about investing in girls and their education. We just need ambition and an intention. What to do is then easy," said Yousafzai, who pointed out that improved access to education isn't just a humanist issue, but that a better-educated population improves the economy, creates healthy people and reduces extremism.
Prompted by Letterman, whose new Netflix program has previously featured Barack Obama and George Clooney as guests, Yousafzai explained how she hoped people would react to extremists of all stripes.
"I would hope that many people would have stood up and stood up against extremists, against not just the extremists, not just the people, but against the ideology," she said. "Because that's what we have to fight against: the ideology that exists there that does not accept women as equal to men [and] that does not accept women to have the right to education. It does not accept the right of women to do a job, to decide our future."
When Letterman asked Yousafzai for her opinions on Trump she deftly turned the question around on him, explaining that she wasn't an American citizen, so it was Letterman's opinion that would be more relevant in this circumstance. Letterman responded by saying Trump was unfit to represent him.
At that point, Yousafzai talked about the unfairness of Trump's "Muslim ban."
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