Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding Ada and International Day of the Girl 2012

2012 International Day of the Girl fell on 11 October 2012 while I was in Brussels at a Turing conference, and yesterday was 2012 Finding Ada Day. I'm combining both events to recognise a true heroine of our times, 14-year old Pakistani girl Malala Yousufzai shot in the head, for daring to speak out to be schooled, by a Talebanist who undoubtedly sees educated women as a threat and prefers his women-folk to be subjugated and subservient to men. Unfortunately this sentiment and thinking is not confined to the Taleban.

Image from Upworthy Facebook page

On one trip to Pakistan, Islamabad in January 2000 sitting on the balcony of my sister's apartment in F11 district I could hear (Mosques, on 'every corner' as pubs once were in Britain, appear to have the best hi-fi systems in the world to ensure no-one misses the call to prayer) distinctly, from a number of other Mosque moralisms, one particular Maulvi/Cleric's rantings, and they were rantings, planting at the feet of all women all the problems of the world, drugs, etc., since she decided to leave the kitchen and throw-off her family carer garb. With my younger sister I wondered how the men in the Mosque would treat their female family members once they returned home; would harsh words, or worse be spoken to a daughter wanting to pursue further education?

Pakistan has slipped down the liberal-thinking ladder since 9/11; it is not the same country as it was back in 2000 and I was shocked at the Islamabadian cleric's clear misogyny then. However, Malala Diary of a Pakistani School Girl Yousufzai's shooting in the head was a stab in the heart for all, not just in Pakistan, who demand rights for girls, that they be given the same access to opportunity as boys, regardless of prevalent social and economic thinking.

In the first year of International Day of the Girl Child Malala Yousufzai is my Ada 2012 - her recovery will fuel girl interests in all subjects of study, including science, computing, engineering, maths and physics. Governments of Pakistan-like nations must ensure these girls are availed with the opportunities they deserve as human beings on this planet.

Malala Yousufzai official website:

News reports for Malala Yousufzai:

Amnesty International


Other links:

Finding Ada:

International Day of the Girl:

UN General Assembly Resolution adopting International Day of the Girl Child: