Malala Yousafzai’s July 14 op-ed, “Standing up for girls,” came at an important moment to honor her in light of Malala Day and remember the millions of adolescent girls around the world who fight for their right to education. Ms. Yousafzai reminded us of the many injustices that girls continue to face, such as the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls this April and others who are raped or forced into child marriage.
Her words also come at a critical moment, when nations around the world are developing new goals that will drive future development priorities for the next 15 years. Formerly known as the Millennium Development Goals, these Sustainable Development Goals risk leaving adolescent girls behind. Nations have a responsibility to prioritize adolescent girls in this post-2015 development agenda — their rights to education, health and nutrition; to decide if, when and whom to marry; to safety, including freedom from rape and exploitation; to economic security and to citizenship. This is the moment to turn the tide toward realizing a sustainable and just world.
Nicole Cheetham, Washington
The writer is international division director for Advocates for Youth.