In her address, she urged that every girl and woman on the planet should be empowered to attain their full and fundamental right to education, health care, and freedom of choice.
Malala called upon delegates at the conference to demand more from their leaders, donors, and institutions. She emphasized the importance of holding leaders accountable for the commitments they make to girls, ensuring that promises are not abandoned and left unfulfilled.
Sharing her own story of spending two years under the terrorism of the Taliban as a young girl who stood up for girls’ right to education, Malala expressed deep concern about the rising number of children, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, who drop out of school. She criticized governments that prioritize debt payments over providing quality education to girls.
Malala also acknowledged that parenting, patriarchy, and climate issues contribute to denying millions of girls their right to education. However, she emphasized that a major cause of this problem is inadequate funding. While conferences like WDC 2023 show progress, Malala pointed out that only a small fraction of international aid goes towards adolescent girls and women, and even then, resources often come with restrictions that limit their impact.
Reflecting on her activism over the past decade, Malala recognized that change requires collective effort. Instead of working individually, stakeholders should unite to build movements for accountability and change, focusing on holding leaders accountable for their commitments.
For the last ten years, Malala has been actively involved in advocating for girls’ education. She has graduated from university, traveled to 31 countries, and established the Malala Fund to support, educate, and amplify girls’ voices.
Throughout her journey, Malala has met countless girls with incredible courage and creativity. She called for a united world that would fund and support the needs of girls, enabling them to lead joyful, violence-free lives, free from burdens caused by adults.