The Challenges Ahead for Girls' Education in Pakistan

Responding to the good news that Malala Yousafzai’s recovery continues to progress, Isobel Coleman paints a bit of a bleak picture for Yousafzai’s stated goal of education for every girl in Pakistan:

The statistics are appalling. In 1981, 45 percent of male youth (15 to 24) in Pakistan were literate, versus only 24 percent of female youth—a literacy gap of 21 points. Since that time, while overall literacy rates have improved, Pakistan’s gender gap has barely budged. In 2009, 79 percent of male youth were literate, but only 61 percent of female youth—a literacy gap of 18 points.

The contrast with Bangladesh’s numbers from the same period is particularly damning.

Malala Yousafzai Gives First Interview Since Taliban Attack

It’s a fairly short statement, and if it seems like it gets cut off in the middle, that’s only because, in the full recording, Yousafzai switches to a different language. She seems amazingly articulate for a 15-year-old with a head injury speaking a language other than her native tongue.

Malala Yousafzai Discharged From Hospital

Dave Rosser, medical director at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS foundation trust, said: “Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery. Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers. She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.”

At this point her recovery has not really been in doubt for some time, but this is still exciting news.

Afghan Women’s Affairs Official Murdered

This makes twice in six months that this post has been vacated by the assassination of the woman occupying it. The Taliban is likely behind the killing.

Aren’t we currently occupying Afghanistan?

The Taliban Strikes Again

Another schoolgirl gunned down for somehow threatening the Taliban’s regime. This time it was Anisa, a 10th-grader helping with the administration of the polio vaccine at her school, and this time, she died.

The Taliban, you see, is against polio immunizations–which, of course, could save some of their own children from a lifetime of paralysis. But they choose to believe that the health campaign is a coverup for espionage, as was the CIA-backed fake hepatitis vaccine campaign that was run in the town where Osama Bin Laden was suspected of being holed up in order to collect DNA samples and locate children of the Al Qaeda mastermind.

How long?

Teenage Girl Beheaded in Afghanistan By Would-Be Suitors

Her father thought she was too young to get married, so he turned down their marriage proposal.

The victim, named as Gisa, was decapitated with a knife in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province on Tuesday, local police said. She is believed to be around 15-years-old.

A police spokesman said two men, named as Sadeq and Massoud, had been arrested following the teenage girl’s murder.

At least an arrest has been made. Read the full article for plenty of additional information not only about this particular case but about the ongoing oppression of women in Afghanistan.

Malala Yousafzai Reunited with Family

Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, met with a room full of reporters Friday to discuss his daughter’s condition and the events leading up to her attack.

The family’s reunion was marked by tears of joy, Yousafzai said, while admitting that he had originally feared he would be planning for a funeral instead. He described his daughter’s prognosis as a “miracle,” adding that he had not expected her to be able to talk or see.

Malala Yousafzai Shows Early Signs of Recovery

“She seems able to understand. She’s got motor control. She’s able to write,” Dr. Rosser said, adding that Ms. Yousafzai had been able to give doctors written approval to make details of her condition public. “Whether there’s any subtle intellectual or memory deficits down the line is too early to say,” he said.

Had the bullet that hit her been “a couple of inches more central,” he said, her injury would have been “unsurvivable.”

In related news, HURRAY!!

Afghani Woman Enlists Her Nephew to Behead Her Daughter-in-Law

“My uncle’s wife told me I should kill this person. I said I couldn’t kill her. She told me, ‘If you can’t kill her, then help me do it.’ She forced me and I helped her,” Najibullah recalled.

“She took me inside her home and hid me. When [Mahgul’s] husband left to go to the bakery, she told me to come out. She held her [Mahgul’s] legs while I beheaded her,” he continued. “I asked her [Parigul] why she wanted to behead Mahgul. She said, ‘I hate her because she doesn’t listen to me.’”

Just one incident in an appalling and unceasing pattern of violence against women.