#YesAllGirls: 8 Inspiring Quotes From Human Rights Activist Malala Yousafzai

by Mamie Clark

The word "inspiring" doesn't even begin to describe Pakistani education and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

In 2009, Malala began writing a blog for BBC that chronicled her life under Taliban occupation, the group's attempts to take control of her native valley and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat District. Malala was 11.

In 2011, Malala received Pakistan's first National Peace Prize, and was nominated by the esteemed former Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children's Peace Prize. During this time, the Taliban began to notice the young girl. After determining Malala to be a threat, the Taliban decided to kill her. Malala was 15.

In October 2012, Malala boarded her school bus after school, just as she had done for years. A masked gunman entered her school bus, searching for Malala. She was then shot with a single bullet that went through her head and neck. Miraculously, she survived the attack. Malala was still only 15 years old.

In 2014, Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She then used her $1.1 million prize money to help create a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. Malala was 17.

In honor of Malala's 19th birthday today, here are eight of her most profound quotes that celebrate the power of feminism, education and peace.

Malala Yousafzai often speaks about the importance of feminism.

"After hearing your [Emma Watson's] speech, when you said, 'If not now, when? If not me, who?' I decided there's no way, and there's nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist. I am a feminist and you're truly feminist, because feminism is another word for equality.”

"I don't want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up."

She always believes in the power of education.

"Trust your daughters, they are faithful. Honor your daughters, they are honorable. And educate your daughters, they are amazing."

"One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."

"I think they [the Taliban] made a big mistake, because I was fighting for the right for education right from the beginning when the Taliban stopped girls from going to school. But I had this little bit of fear that what would happen to me, how would I feel if someone attacks me. But after that incident, when I was attacked, that fear just went away. And as I said in my speech at the United Nations that my weakness, my fear, and my hopelessness died on that day. And I became stronger than before. And now I strongly believe that nothing can stop me in this mission and this campaign of education to say that girls deserve the right to go to school. And it's the love of people as well that has encouraged me and helped me."

"I don't know why people have divided the whole world into two groups, west and east. Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it's the right of every human being."

She knows people can use their voices solve the world's problems peacefully.

"I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me, but then I said, if he comes 'What would you do Malala?' Then I would reply (to) myself 'Malala just take a shoe and hit him,' but then I said 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe then there would be no difference between you and the Talib... You must fight others but through peace and through dialog and through education.'"

"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful."

Since July 12th was declared Malala Day by the United Nations in 2013, Malala has spent every birthday campaigning for girls' education around the world.

Take action by joining Malala and supporting this year's Malala Day theme, #YesAllGirls.

Happy Birthday, Malala!

Citations: Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl (BBC), 14-year-old girl wins Pakistan's first peace prize (CNN), Desmond Tutu announces nominees Children's Peace Prize 2011 (Kids Rights), Malala's journey from near death to recovery (CNN), Malala's Story (The Malala Fund), These quotes from birthday girl Malala Yousafzai will inspire a #TransformationTuesday (USA Today), Shot Pakistan schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai addresses UN (BBC), Malala Yousafzai addresses Harvard audience (The Boston Globe), Malala Yousafzai: A 'Normal,' Yet Powerful Girl (NPR), Malala Yousafzai urges British girls not to take education for granted (The Guardian), 'Malala is a Miracle': A Friend's Tribute to Clinton Global Citizen Award Recipient Malala Yousafzai (Huffington Post)