The fight against climate change is also a fight for girls’ right to education, millions of whom are losing access to schools due to climate-related events, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai told Reuters on Friday.
Yousafzai spoke outside the Swedish parliament, where she, along with environmentalists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate, attended one of Friday’s climate protests that have been held there weekly since 2018, sparking a global movement.
In 2012, the now 24-year-old survived being shot in the head by a Pakistani Taliban gunman after being the target of her campaign against the Taliban’s efforts to deny women education. She went on to become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy for education.
“As a result of climate-related events, millions of girls are losing access to schools. Events such as droughts and floods have a direct impact on schools, and some of these events lead to displacement,” Yousafzai said in an interview.
“As a result, girls are the most affected: they are the first to leave school and the last to return.”
During the demonstration, Yousafzai shared a story of how her own education was interrupted by climate change when her school and many others instead were flooded.
Yousafzai, Nakate and Thunberg all highlighted how women, especially those in developing countries, have been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and can be part of the solution if they become stronger through education.
“When girls and women are educated, it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helps build resilience, and it also helps reduce the existing inequalities that so many women and girls face in different parts of the world,” says Nakate, a 25-year-old activist from Uganda.
Yousafzai, who has hardened her Malala fund, has also become a global symbol of women’s resilience in the face of repression, taking selfies with passing locals and tourists, and speaking at length with the Fridays For Future activists who have been outside since then. protested the parliament building. 2018 and is becoming a global movement in the process.
Activists unveiled banners and placards expressing support for Afghan girls’ right to education and linked the climate crisis and future solutions to the educational opportunities of women around the world.
“Any girl can change the world if she’s given the right tools to do it,” says Thunberg, 19.
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