October 16 2012
The White House was given an exceptional opportunity to champion the real issues facing women worldwide on the International Day of the Girl. Instead, the White House trivialized the real problems women and girls face worldwide, by focusing its statement on the Administration’s efforts to push the hiring of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and reforming healthcare as if that’s the same fight as 14-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousufzai’s.
Last week, I featured Yousufzai’s efforts to stand for the rights of girls in Pakistan to attend school and pursue an education. In response to her stand, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her and another student in the head, calling her fight for liberty “obscene.”
My colleagues have written extensively that women do not need Uncle Sam to take away our liberties in the name of helping women. Women are strong, independent, capable, and better off when given liberty to pursue our passions. They have highlighted problems with the administration’s intervention on STEM funding and explained why sexism isn’t likely responsible for male and female’s different academic pursuits. They have worked extensively on the liberties taken away and ramifications of the healthcare bill and the HHS mandate that employers provide free birth control.
The comparison of these bigger government campaigns to the horrendous experiences of Yousufzai is not only condescending and distasteful, but it also takes political advantage of the true sufferings of women who are fighting the real war on women everyday.
Malala is still in serious condition and was helicoptered to London to receive treatment on her fractured skull. She has become the symbol of girls’ freedom to pursue an education and exercise freedom in Pakistan, and her efforts must not be trivialized.