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Switzerland Davos Forum

20-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai encourages women to change the world 'ourselves'



Activist Malala Yousafzai addressed gender equality at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, touched on the new era of feminism sparked by the #MeToo movement and Time's Up campaign.

"[Women] are realizing that their voice is so important to the change they want to see," she said.

"We're not going to ask men to change the world. We are going to do it ourselves."
Malala Yousafzai, Activist & Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

The 20-year-old activist also spoke about equal access to education, and the need to invest in equal education. Yousafzai garnered international media attention in 2012 after being shot in the head in Pakistan for refusing to comply with a Taliban ban on girls attending school. She has since used her notoriety to advocate for equal access to education for girls around the world.

"There are 130 million girls right now who cannot go to school," she said. "And if we talk about women's empowerment, their equality, if we talk about women participating in the economy... we have to invest in their education."

Switzerland Davos Forum
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.

When asked if she had a message for "someone like Trump" who lacked "history with women's rights," Yousafzai expressed her disappointment in prominent figures who exploited their power.

"They talk against women, they do not accept women as equal, they harass women," she said. "And I hope that people who are involved in such shameful things think about their own daughters, their own mothers, and their own close female relatives."

She also expanded on her thoughts about feminism, after once saying she initially thought "feminism" was "a tricky word." Yousafzai said that what she once believed was a controversial concept was actually completely in line with what she practiced in her advocacy.

"I just looked more into it and realized that feminism is just another word for equality... and no one would object equality."
Malala Yousafzai, Activist & Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

The 48th World Economic Forum is being held from Jan. 23-26th.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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