The recent visit of world-renowned education activist and Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, to Australia has inspired many Samoan women.
Presented by leading Australian business events provider, The Growth Faculty, which was part of their Women World Changers series, Liza Moscatelli, a half Samoan living in Sydney, had the chance to listen to Malala’s inspiring statements.
Ms. Moscatelli said Samoan women and all women can learn from Malala’s optimistic attitude after overcoming difficulties in life.
“Athough she has a valid reason to hate or to be fearful, she practices forgiveness, resilience and continues to advocate and comes out stronger than ever and at a global level.”
“Malala walks her talk and reminds us that standing firm in social justice principles and her resistance to the status quo is crucial for any social change to occur.”
Lia Sagote said Malala’s famous quotes and words of wisdom resonated with her as a Samoan.
“Parents encourage your children to speak out, believe in their potential. Engage and talk with them more so they become more confident and articulate,” Malala said.
“Education reduces poverty because it allows women to fend for themselves. If you want the world to believe in you, you must start believing in yourself.”
“Don’t fall for ideologies such as ‘women are not equal to men’, that we should stay quiet and stay home or ‘it is better to have a son than a daughter because sons can look after themselves’.”
Lia said domestic violence statistics against women in Samoa are staggering, and one in five young women getting raped and six out of 10 women experience intimate partner violence, according to a recent commission inquiry.
“The problem is not a women’s choice of partner or the actions of a woman as ignorance may suggest. We need to educate men to respect the safety of a woman,” she said.
Lia said Malala, 21, is a symbol of hope for the 140 million girls in the world who are deprived of an education.
At age 11, Malala began her campaign for the rights of girls to receive an education, blogging about life under the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
Her story continued after surviving a targeted attack by the extremist group at just 15 years old. The attack has left her partially deaf.
In 2014, she became the youngest recipient of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Now studying at the University of Oxford, Malala continues to campaign for the right of every child to go to school. As co-founder of the Malala Fund, she is building a global movement of support to ensure girls have access to 12 years education.
Malala’s visit also marked the end of the 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence, which includes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, and Samoa has been actively supporting these campaigns in recent years.