Malala Yousafzai, who received a Pride of Britain Award from David Beckham
Image source: Dailymail
Social networking platforms have led way to a new form of activism. No longer are activist’s confined to merely demonstrating plights in their local areas, with social media tools they are now able to demonstrate such plights on a global scale. Social media is now used to co-ordinate, mobilize and disseminate protests around the globe in order to bring a large amount of individuals together from all corners of the globe.
When I think about how social media has changed activism, I think about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a young girl from Pakistan who since the age of eleven has written an online diary (blog) for the BBC fighting for the right of young girls to be allowed to get an education (Synvitz 2012). This was directly protesting against the Taliban who are stopping young women getting an education in her village by destroying their schools. Sadly Malala was shot in the head at point blank range by the Taliban who wanted to put a stop to her message as it has been receiving global attention. Malala survived this attack against all odds and now lives in Birmingham (UK) and her campaign has never been stronger. She is now an international icon for girls’ rights and is globally know by “Malala” (Synvitz 2012).
Her blog and brave acts have led to global support for the education of women, many have signed the online petition to stand with Malala and fight for education for children all over the world who do not currently have any kind of access to it. She also has a dedicated hashtag on twitter for her cause #IamMalala here an aggregation of tweets can be viewed from all over the world of individuals campaigning for better education for young girls and children in general, another clear example of activism through social media.
Malala started simply as an online blog protesting for the rights of girls’ to receive an education this sadly led to her being shot but post this event she has received global support and was even rumored for the Noble Peace Prize award. She has continued on with her success and gave a speech to the UN about her cause and has persuaded the UN to recommit to Millennium Development Goal two (Dias 2013), which states; “by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” (Dias 2013). Social media; including blogging was the key for Malala to be an activist for educational rights especially within a country such as hers. With another example of the Arab Spring it is clear that social media activism is an important tool for activists in countries such as these where Governments or rebel forces will attempt to suppress campaigns. Online activism allows these individuals to share their campaigns on a global scale.
Dias, C 2013, ’10 ways Malala Yousafzai Has Changed the World’, policymic, 14th July, viewed 12th October 2013, <http://www.policymic.com/articles/55333/10-ways-malala-yousafzai-has-changed-the-world>
Synvitz, R 2012, ‘Malala Yousafzai, the Girl shot by the Taliban, Becomes a Global Icon’, The Atlantic, 12th October, viewed 12th October 2013, <http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/malala-yousafzai-the-girl-shot-by-the-taliban-becomes-a-global-icon/263527/>