Book Review: Let Her Fly: A Father’s Journey – Ziauddin Yousafzai

After Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban as a teenager, the world has watched as she has continued to stand up for the right to girls education. By her side has been her father, Ziauddin and now, it is time to tell his story and the fight for equality he has been working on for more than 20 years.

Malala has made no secret of the love and admiration she holds for her father and in this book it is clear to see that the love goes both ways. There were points where I felt that it was so focused on Malala, I wondered about her younger brothers. This is rectified in the book as Ziauddin talks about his sons and, equally, the struggles he has had parenting two boys in a world so different to his own.

One of the things I loved most, was the dedication to his wife. This felt so pure and wonderful that he truly believes that she is his equal and his love. It was important to see that this was so deep routed in wanting equality for his family from within his home, before extending it to the wider world.

I gave this 4 stars, I really enjoyed reading more about Ziauddin, his life and beliefs. The fact that this looked at him as a whole person, rather than just as Malala’s father. This is an intriguing look at what is an extraordinary man.

A huge thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and author for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday Seven: 7 of my Famous Feminist Heroes

This week I’ve been working on my dissertation, doing hours or reading on being a woman. On what a woman is, about feminism, motherhood and work. My dissertation may be on Plath, but the research goes further than that and it’s got me thinking about some of the famous feminists I look up to. So for this Sunday Seven I want to celebrate some of the most awesome feminists around.

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1. Malala Yousafzai

I don’t think there’s anyone who embodies the spirit of feminism like Malala. Even after the Taliban attempted to murder her, she carried on and made her voice louder than ever on an international stage. Malala stands for something that every feminist, I think, should fight for. Equal education for girls in all areas of the world. Malala’s story reminded us all that just because we have these things in the Western world does not mean we can take them for granted. Equal education should be for every child around the world, regardless of gender.

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2. Jennifer Lawrence

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hunger Games I caught on early that Jennifer Lawrence was something incredible. Not only does she not pretend to be an always glam, super cool actress, she reminds all of us she is just another woman. The quote above really hits home that alongside acting, Jennifer wants to change the way women are viewed by the media and the pay gap. Her, quite frankly, brave piece about why she gets paid less than her male costars made headlines around the world. I say brave because it could have made her career suffer. It could have meant that the film industry refused to work with her and that her fear of being called ‘difficult’ or ‘spoilt’ had come true. She make a point though and by raising this issue in public, she puts it in the spotlight for the rest of us in ‘normal’ jobs too. It get’s people talking, and that’s exactly what we need to do.

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3. Laura bates

While Laura might not be known internationally, she is a force to be reckoned with in the UK. Her Ted Talk and book of the same name ‘Everyday Sexism’ is an incredible piece of work. Personally, I read this and felt both sad and strengthened. I realised that it was ok to get pissed off when someone touched me, made me out to be just a sexual object or made fun of me for my gender. I basically did a U turn on a lot of things because I read her research, her statistics and her stats, I talked about things I’d never thought I could before  and it was all because of Laura. download (1)

4. Emma Watson

Again, a huge reason that I am now such a proud feminist. Emma’s He for She speech spoke to me as someone who didn’t want to use the label feminist and who resisted it at all costs.Emma is one of the amazing women of my generation who is reclaiming the word and what feminism means, as well as talking about real equality between the sexes. 0f6d1ce1e7f99e8b5a2be97b77a0ab8e

5. Sylvia Plath

There are a lot of arguments about whether or not Plath is a feminist. She is to me because she acknowledges the struggle between wanting a family and wanting a career. She believes she can be anything, but she also has self doubt. Her work on the 1950s and 1960s and the attitude towards women is something really incredible, as is the character of Esther in The Bell Jar. Plath is one of my heroes because she isn’t perfect and she doesn’t 100% seem to know what she believes, she changes her mind as as she gets older and I can’t help but resonate with that.

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6. Caitlin Moran

I have to include the woman who had me walking/ hobbling around my house shouting ‘I’m a feminist’, while clutching a copy of her book. Ah Caitlin Moran, what has the world done to deserve you. I’d read how to be a woman when I was about 12 and thought it was weird and terrifying and ended up throwing it in a fit of grossness. Fast forward to the age of 21 and it’s one of my favourite books. It’s funny, honest and makes you think. It’s thanks to Caitlin I am a feminist, I am a proud feminist and that I’m not afraid to say it loudly to anyone. All her other books are amazing too.

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7. J.K Rowling

Think about the women in the Harry Potter series they are almost all strong, independent and good. The fact that one of the main characters in one of the biggest selling series’ of all time was a girl with bushy hair, big teeth and a love for books,  while being friends with two boys and the smartest witch of her age. It gave those of us who didn’t always fit in someone to read about who was like us, it made being the smart girl cool! Women were not weak in the Harry Potter books (unlike some of the movies), they were often the strength and intelligence. For a lot of girls, she changed the way they saw themselves and saw the world, including me.

 

 

I do not own any of these images, they are the products of very talented people I found online. 

Malala Yousafzai: An inspiration to all

Most teenagers would spend their 16th birthday with friends, family and being spoilt with presents, or trying to have a house party without damaging too much of the house. Malala Yousafazi, however, spend her 16th birthday in front of a UN conference giving a speech on the importance of education. The difference between Malala and the majority of girl in the UK is that at the tender age of 16 she is a campaigner for the right to education and has survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. 

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From an early age Malala has been fighting for the right to gain an education simply because she is a girl. Under threat from the Taliban, Malala and her family would not let them win as she claimed yesterday extremist groups are ‘scared of books and pens’. It is this attitude that we should adopt,after all knowledge is power. At the age of 12 Malala began writing a blog for the BBC ( although obviously not using her own name) about how it was to live under the rule of the Taliban. As well as this she still fought to go to school, along with her female friends as well as filming a documentary for the New York Times about her life and struggle. This in itself is extraordinary and I salute her parents, many would be too scared and no encourage her but according the reports she has the full support of her family. Unfortunately the Taliban carried out their threat and attempted to assassinate Malala, boarding her school bus and asking for her. Malala did not hide away and identified herself proceeding to be shot in the head along with her school friends (proving their cowardice). Malala was flown to the UK for emergency treatment and is now living in Birmingham and still working hard to provide education for all children around the world and give equal opportunities to all women.  

Yesterday Malala took to the worlds stage again at a UN conference and I actually got goosebumps watching her speech. You would not guess that she is only 16 years old her bravery and total commitment is something that many adults do not have. It made me appreciate my education more than anything and just marvel at her. I researched more about her and found out that she is the youngest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and has already won awards in Pakistan for her contributions. I could not find a single person who did not watch the speech and agree that she is incredible, watch it here

It also strikes me that in the western world we still hear cries of ‘feminism’ and how we need to fight harder for equality. In certain situations this is right but in the UK today even an idiot could see that we are better off than many of our sisters around the world. In the UK the majority of us are free to make our own choices, we can receive a free education, decide what to do with our own bodies and have wide access to contraception. It is my belief that with the help of girls like Malala we can make the world a better place for women. It has shocking that we are still seeing a lack of education for girls, reports that female babies are being aborted or given up for adoption quickly after birth simply for being the wrong sex. It is incredibly sad that women are still begin treated as objects and are not free to marry who they choose. This is NOT because women are not strong, it is simply through following ancient traditions and not entering the 21st century. It is when I think of this that I get angry at girls in this country who do nothing with their lives. I can tell you now there would be thousands of girls willing to trade for your position and pro creating because you were bored or drunk does not count as ‘doing something’. I am incredibly proud of my country for allowing Malala to live here and gain the education she deserves because to me she is a true hero. 

 

Report by Chloe Metzger