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15 November 2012
On Saturday, Birmingham Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart will give a card, signed by the 50 international and UK parliamentarians who attended last week’s international parliamentary conference on gender and politics at Westminster, to girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, who is currently recuperating in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
During the course of the conference which was held in Parliament, 6-8 November 2012, the parliamentarians commended Malala’s courage and commitment to securing education for girls in Pakistan and throughout the world, and applauded the recognition she has received among the international community. They signed the card wishing her a speedy recovery and expressing their admiration for her work to give girls the same opportunities as their brothers.
The conference was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK and British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, to discuss international approaches to improving gender-balance in legislatures and making all levels and all areas of political and public life more accessible to women. One of the key plenary discussions, chaired by Fiona O’Donnell MP, Vice Chair of the Global Education for All All-Party Group, focused on the subject of ‘Investing in Education for All.’
Among those wishing her well were high-profile delegate parliamentarians including Hon. Shinkai Zahine Karokhail MP of Afghanistan, Moroccan Deputy Speaker Khadija Rouissi MP, Ghanaian Women’s & Children’s Minister Juliana Azumah-Mensah MP and City of Durham MP Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP.
Malala Yousafzai first emerged onto the public stage in 2009 through her account of the Talibanisation of her community for BBC Urdu, when she was just 11 years old. Her subsequent campaigns for education for all, particularly girls, saw her nominated for the 2011 International Children’s Peace Prize and gained the attention of the international media but also of militants who saw her as ‘anti-Taliban’ and ‘secular.’
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attempt on her life on 9 October this year, which rendered her comatose and in critical opinion, since which she has been transferred to the hospital in Birmingham. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declared Saturday 10 November Malala Day, and former Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education Rt Hon. Gordon Brown MP has launched a UN petition to remove discrimination against girls in education, for which delegates at the conference also pledged their support.