(Huffington Post) Will Malala's Heroism Turn the Tide for Women and Girls?
A hero to millions, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is now recovering in a British hospital after being gunned down by the Taliban in a vicious attempt to silence her. The 16-year-old's crime? Speaking out about her right to an education at home in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where religious militants had banned girls from attending school.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2012 released by the World Economic Forum this week, Pakistan lands an unforgiving second-to-last in worldwide rankings of gender equality. The global index measures the gender gap in each country by educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity and political representation. Pakistan, a country where female literacy hovers at 40 percent, has been working to improve its education system, but violent extremism poses a clear threat to progress in the region. The nation of 176 million also ranks near the bottom of the index in measures of economic participation and women's health.