UN Women Executive Director applauds joint Nobel Peace Prize win for Malala, Kailash Satyarthi

Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, on the Nobel Peace Prize award to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi


Malala Yousafzai. UN Photo
Malala Yousafzai at the UN Youth Assembly. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child and remember the Nigerian schoolgirls still held hostage by Boko Haram, it is particularly fitting that we are able also to congratulate Malala Yousafzai, who at the age of 17 is the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and an outstanding fighter for girls’ rights and in particular their absolute right to schooling. The award of the Peace Prize jointly to Malala and Kailash Satyarthi “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education” explicitly recognizes this right.

Malala’s staunch and fearless advocacy has amplified the voices of girls who might otherwise remain unheard. She knows that a full education is essential for girls to flourish and participate as equals in life. More than that, as they grow to their full potential in society, their voices, participation and leadership are crucial elements in economic prosperity, inclusive societies, and sustainable peace and security. Empowered girls like Malala are the best drivers of growth, the best hope for reconciliation in conflict, and the best buffer against the radicalization of youth and the repetition of cycles of violence.

Watch an emblematic speech by Malala at the UN Youth Assembly in 2013: