Malala Yousafzai tells Expo 2020 Dubai that young women need to be heard

Youngest winner of Nobel Peace Prize says education should not be denied to young girls anywhere in the world

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The youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has told Expo 2020 Dubai visitors that the world needs to listen to the voices of girls and young women.

Pakistani activist for female education Malala Yousafzai said humanity as a whole could only thrive when women were thriving.

She was speaking at the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

“There are still more than 127 million girls who are deprived of education. My mission remains the same – for these girls to have access to safe, free quality and complete education,” she said.

I still have an ambition that one day there will be zero girls out of school
Malala Yousafzai

“I believe in the voice of girls. I want us to listen to the voices of girls and young women around the world – not to just sit here and share stories, but to participate in these conversations with them.

“These women also need to be in the rooms where decisions are being made about their future so they can actively participate.”

She said ensuring every girl had access to education would boost the global economy by $30 trillion.

“If you want to see change, you have to believe in it,” said Ms Yousafzai.

“I still have an ambition that one day there will be zero girls out of school.”

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai visits the Women's Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

In 2014, at the age of 17, Ms Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy for women having access to education.

“We cannot deny the reality of people being discriminated against because of their gender,” she said.

“If you look at Afghanistan, where girls in secondary schools are denied their right to education, we should not be living in this world.

“On International Women's Day, I hope we continue emphasising this message; through repeated activism and advocacy, we have seen huge progress.”

She also praised the work done by the organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai to help promote opportunities for women.

“When young girls visit the pavilions, they are learning something and can picture themselves in leadership roles,” she said.

“This is the message we send to our future generation: girls and boys can do anything, and gender should not be preventing them from any role they aspire to.”

Updated: January 30, 2022, 3:30 AM