Emma Watson Interviews Malala Yousafzai: 'Believe in the Power of Education,' Nobel Peace Prize Winner Says
Not only does Malala Yousafzai want to change the world, but she wants your help.
The inspiring 18-year-old spoke to Emma Watson on Wednesday about the new documentary on her life He Named Me Malala, ensuring education for all children, and achieving gender equality. In a post on her Facebook page, Watson writes that Yousafzai was “giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent,” and shares a video of their interview.
“It’s my simple dream and very straightforward: I want to see every child get a quality education. In order to make sure that dream comes true, we have to work hard and we have to take action,” Yousafzai tells Watson. “This has been my mission and I’ll make it come true. I’ll try my best.”
It’s important not to take one’s education for granted, Yousafzai says, especially when there are millions of children, especially girls, who would be overjoyed to be in school yet are not allowed.
“We go to school every day and it’s for many, many years of our life, and in between you forget its importance. I know its importance because when I was 11 I was stopped from going to school and the next day when I woke up and I just could not go to school, I could not believe that for the rest of my life I wouldn’t be able to study at all and I wouldn’t be able to become a doctor or teacher or anything I liked,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner recalls. “That was the stage when I realized that education is really important for every child. Before you see that stage, realize it now. … Realize that it’s for your future, it’s for the future of your country … and just believe in yourselves, believe in the power of education.”
Yousafzai also shares that, despite all of her impressive accomplishments, she still feels “really scared” when speaking in school.
“But in terms of meeting presidents and prime ministers and talking about a cause which really matters, then you have to forget about getting nervous … forget all those things and say what’s in your heart – do not hesitate,” she says. “Why hesitate, why stop yourself? If it was meeting the president of America, Barack Obama, or anyone, I say things very, very clearly, because it’s not for me, it’s for children and their future.”
And this cause isn’t just her responsibility – she is soliciting help from those who believe in her crusade.
“People fail to understand that my goal, which is to see every child going to school, hasn’t been achieved yet in this world. I want to see it come true, and it’s really important that we come together and we support each other,” she says. “This is about the future of all those 66 million girls who cannot go to school right now. It’s our future, it’s going to affect every single one of us if so many children are out of school … and they have – girls especially – they have potential they can contribute to society.”
She continues, “If you are stopping half of the population not to come forward, how can you think of progress and achievements? It’s important that we think it’s our responsibility to participate actively in bringing change. It’s we who can bring change.”
Watson, 25, also notes in her post that “the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism.” The U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador writes that she was surprised that Yousafzai brought up the controversial term herself but is pleased she did.
“Interestingly, this word feminism, it has been a very tricky word, and when I heard it the first time I heard some negative responses,” Yousafzai tells Watson. “I hesitated in saying, ‘Am I a feminist or not,’ and then after hearing your speech when you said, ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’ I decided that … there’s nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist.”
She adds, “So I am a feminist and we all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality. … People have forgotten its definition.”
In the interview, Watson wholeheartedly agrees and is visibly touched to have had her own words quoted back to her.
Additionally, in her post, Watson wrote: “I’ve spoken before on what a controversial word feminism is currently. More recently, I am learning what a factionalized movement it is too. We are all moving towards the same goal. Let’s not make it scary to say you’re a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let’s join our hands and move together so you can make real change. Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you.”