Malala Yousafzai is featured on the last TeenVogue cover of 2019, which highlights “brilliant, world-changing demands of teens across the world” in a decade defined by “the rise of youth activism” and protest.
In an interview with the magazine, Malala reveals how education came to be her top priority and stressed, “Education is the best investment that you can make.”
And not just because the data says so.
“I realised that if I cannot go to school, my life could be early child marriage, becoming a mother, becoming a grandmother, and not having the opportunity to be myself, to explore the opportunities that are available out there that a boy would have access to. But I would not.”
She also opened up that she struggled with depression on her road to healing and recovery, mentally and physically — and that social media can take its toll on her too.
“What really helped me... was the support of people. Whether that was the nurses and doctors or whether those were the letters and cards and the messages that I was receiving from people all around the world.”
“We are living in an era where we have new tools, new things coming forward that we had not had before. From social media to technology, there's competition and selfies, and all these things are spreading. So it's important for us to take care of ourselves. Make sure you're healthy and fine and getting enough sleep. Yeah, I'm including myself in that.”
Malala also predicted that just as the previous 10 years saw a rise in youth activism worldwide, the next 10 are going to be about youth making tangible change. “That's what gives me hope,” she said.
“It's like we have done our activism; we have done enough to raise our voice. And I think the next step is now let's make the change, let's be the change-makers, let's get more involved in this. I'm excited for that, to be the change-maker, and do more for girls' education, to ensure that all girls can have the opportunity to go to school, to go to universities, just like I have.”
Malala, who recently collaborated with artists and social media influencers to speak up about girls' education, also discussed the prevalence of Islamophobia in the West and also pointed out that there is an "element of patriarchy and misogyny" in cases where religion has been employed as a tool to silence women.
“Religious scholars need to come forward and they need to tell people that whether it's Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, any other religion, that religion is for the equal rights of everyone,” she added
Read the complete interview here.