Malala Yousafzai, education activist and survivor of a terrorist attack, will publish a book about her life, for a reported 2 million pounds.
In the Guardian article, Yousafzai says, “”I hope this book will reach people around the world, so they realise how difficult it is for some children to get access to education. I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61m children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”
I’ve written a lot about both Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas and her multimillion dollar career as an athelete, including her best-selling co-written book, and Yousafzai. Both young women have a lot to say about perseverence and the power of girls to achieve important goals. Each has the world’s attention now — Douglas after an Olympic triumph, and Yousafzai because of her courage speaking out and the seemingly impossible miracle of her survival. These books may well become a marker of a new moment in their roles as leaders — moving into even wider public arenas as a way to inspire others.
In many ways, Yousafzai began her work as a leader teaching through witness. Her career as a writer and activist began with a blog at BBC Urdu service in 2009. Her book’s focus reflects her new and safer status as a British citizen, with the emotional reach that makes her and her movement resonate as a call to full world citizenship for girls.
The feeling that, with her exile, she has herself become a global citizen strengthens her message — we all want to adopt her, and therefore we adopt her cause. As a leader, she risked (and cheated) death to become the face of a vital movement for girls and women everywhere.