Noteworthy Women

Encouraging and Empowering Remarkable Women

Tag: feminist

Feature Friday: Malala Yousafzai

As one of the most famous and influential Pakistani activists for female education, Malala Yousafzai, has changed the game in feminism. In 2009, Malala wrote an anonymous blog that described the lifestyle under the Taliban. Later that year, she was discovered as the one behind the blog posts that became a documentary. This also put a target on Malala by the Taliban and she’s still targeted today.

Malala attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools, she gave a speech in September 2008 titled, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” According to BBC’s article, Malala was only 11 years old when her anonymous diary captivated audiences. She wrote under a pseudonym – Gul Makai, the name of a heroine from a Pashtun folk tale. Malala was able to document the chaos that her and her friends underwent while they saw students from their class dropping those classes due to the fear of being targeted by the militants. Malala and her family were then forced to flee the valley when a government military operation attempted to clear the region of militancy. Seen as a passionate campaigner, Malala consistently received support and encouragement in her activism from her parents. Her father was even the one who had the idea of starting a blog.

“For my brothers it was easy to think about the future,” Malala tells me when we meet in Birmingham. “They can be anything they want. But for me it was hard and for that reason I wanted to become educated and empower myself with knowledge.”

Once targeted by the Taliban, Malala was shot in the head in 2012, but survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 18! BBC writes, “The bullet hit Malala’s left brow and instead of penetrating her skull it travelled underneath the skin, the length of the side of her head and into her shoulder”.

Malala’s diary: 3 January 2009:

“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat.

My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools

Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.”

“I didn’t want my future to be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth” – Malala

In 2009, a documentary was produced about Malala.  The Guardian reviews this film as, “No squeamish cultural relativism: women’s education is a must in Muslim countries, non-Muslim countries, everywhere, non-negotiable. Guggenheim’s film is inspiring.”

A fund has been set up in her name to help children in education around the world.

“She is an extraordinary young woman, wise beyond her years, sensible, sensitive and focused. She has experienced the worst of humanity, and the best of humanity – both from the medics who cared for her and the messages from many thousands of well-wishers.”

Feature Friday: Rupi Kaur

We’re starting off this weekend with the very first of what we hope to be a collection of “Feature Friday” posts. Feature Friday is Noteworthy Women’s approach to providing our followers with examples of remarkable women all over the world that embody every characteristic of a “Noteworthy Woman”.

Our first feature is Rupi Kaur, a 24 year old Canadian artist and poet that has recently become widely popular due to the publication of her debut book titled “Milk and Honey”. Kaur was born in Punjab, India but moved to Toronto at the age of 4. During her teen years, she performed spoken word at a number of different locations. These performances were based on poetry, something she was constantly writing.

Rupi Kaur Photo by: Baljit from Toronto DesiDiaries

One of the reasons why Kaur is such a compelling young woman is because of the frankness with which she expresses herself through her poetry and art. Milk and Honey is a series of poems that speak about a variety of topics such as love, womanhood, sexuality, trauma, and healing. The book is divided into four sections: “the hurting”, “the loving”, “the breaking”, and “the healing”. While some authors tend to shy away from portraying the realities of heartbreak, loss, and suffering, Kaur’s words allow readers to dive into the sometimes crude experiences that women face on a daily basis. It is perhaps the relatability of the experiences described in her book that have made this work such a success. Not only was Milk and Honey on the New York Times Best Seller list for months, it gained viral recognition online through social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Kaur’s work hasn’t always been the subject of recognition and praise. Anytime an artist or individual (in this case a young Canadian woman with Indian heritage) seeks to speak out about taboo subjects, they are more likely then not going to face criticisms. This is yet another reason why Kaur has been a source of inspiration for young women looking to discover themselves and the world around them. Kaur refused to shy away from what she knew could cause controversy for a general audience. Instead, she passionately and unapologetically expresses herself, her views, and her experiences; something that every woman should have the right to do, regardless of what others may think.

Noteworthy Women applauds Rupi Kaur for having the courage to express what it’s really like to be a woman and for sharing such an important piece of poetic work. We hope her success will help her continue to grow as an artist as well as help others in their journey to self-discovery.

Make sure to show your support for our very first Feature Friday: Rupi Kaur by following her social media sites all linked above!

Ms, Mrs & Miss— let’s talk feminism

Throughout history, countless numbers of brave women have helped pave the way for the women of today.  It is through their dedication and commitment that modern women have the ability to vote, work and stand up for their beliefs. There’s no denying the United States is currently facing a period of extreme division across its borders. Yet, regardless of the causes we fight for, we must remember the women who forged the way before us; they’ve handed the baton over to us. We are responsible for continuing their legacy, empowering others and engaging in actions that bring great change to the world.  We must be our own support system— a source of inspiration to each other and continue blazing the trail as women in history.

Noteworthy Women is a platform dedicated to featuring such personalities— women of the past, women of today and the women of tomorrow. For many years, feminist ideals have been misunderstood and taken for granted. In order to reverse this stigma associated with feminism, it is important to help people see the true values that feminism stands for. 

Noteworthy Women is the product of four female Undergrad students from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. These women, who come from different states/countries, backgrounds and ideals, understood the power their unique experiences could have when united with one goal of de-stigmatizing the ideals of feminism. With this blog, they hope to serve as an example to other women, that any woman can make a difference be it small or large by taking a stand.

“Strong women aren’t simply born. We are forged through the challenges of life. With each challenge we grow mentally and emotionally. We move forward with our head held high and a strength that cannot be denied. A woman who’s been through the storm and survived. We are warriors!” – unknown

The blog’s content will focus on showcasing women who have done remarkable things over their lifetime, made sacrifices for causes dear to them and stand proudly for who they are. The gallery will feature visual components to help readers feel as connected as humanly possible to women they may never have the chance to meet face to face. Feel free to connect using the contact information available. If there are women you want to have featured, shoot us an email and we’ll happily create a post. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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