If you don’t know who Malala Yousafzai is, you probably should.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and girl’s education advocate is only the sixth person in history to receive an honorary Canadian citizenship. And on Wednesday, she made history once again as the youngest person to ever address Parliament.
Yousafzai praised Canada for its passion and for accepting refugees amidst rising tensions in the Middle East. She told Parliament:
“You are a true example to the world of what it means to stand up for humanity and I’m hopeful that you will inspire many more countries, more leaders, to follow your footsteps.”
After accepting a certificate and a Canadian flag of her own from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Yousafzai received a standing ovation before making her address. Trudeau had nothing but great things to say about Malala, calling her “a model of kindness, who is also impossibly humble.”
Starting off her day in Canada’s capital she visited a local high school where she recounted her story to the culturally diverse student body, calling on them to collectively fight for change.
“We have to challenge society, we have to challenge communities, we have to raise our voice and it’s true that they won’t listen to us, but if we keep on fighting, they will change. The same cousin who was laughing when my father wrote my name on the family tree, he now praises me, stands with me, and he now believes in education. So things will change. We need to have passion to go forward and take the steps.”
Yousafzai believes that fathers and men with higher rankings of power must play an important role in empowering women. She stated:
“These issues for women are global, they are not limited to any country, any society. So men have to play a role in this and that’s men should come out and call themselves feminists. If my father had not allowed me to speak out, I would not have been allowed to come here and speak here and be who I am today.”
After her address to Parliament, Yousafzai sat down with Trudeau to discuss the problems young girls who wish to receive education face. They also touched on how to empower not only women, but entire communities as well.
In the words of one of the greatest human rights activists of our time:
“When one person takes a small step forward, everyone takes a step forward.”
Watch her powerful address below, via YouTube:
Feature Image is a screengrab via YouTube.