France honours Malala with Womens` Freedom award

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls` education.

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2013, 16:31 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls` education, has been awarded the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Womens` Freedom by France.

Malala`s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who accepted the award on behalf of the 15-year-old, said the Taliban are fighting a lost cause and must accept peace talks, reports The News.

Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban hitman while she was returning home from school in Pakistan`s northwestern Swat Valley in October. The bullet grazed her brain, coming within centimetres of killing her, travelling through her head and neck before lodging in her left shoulder. She was flown to Britain for specialised treatment.

Yousufzai said that in Pakistan, fathers are known by their sons; daughters are very much neglected, but he is one of the few fortunate fathers who is known by their daughter.

He also called for a change in global politics, saying his country has suffered enormously in an era when "our children were orphaned, our women were widowed and our schools were lost".

Malala first rose to prominence at the age of 11 with a blog for the BBC`s Urdu-language service wherein she described her life in Swat under the Taliban, whose two-year reign of terror supposedly came to an end there with an army operation in 2009.

Last month, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari announced a USD 10 million donation for a global war chest to educate all girls by 2015 set up in Malala`s name.

The "Malala Fund for Girls` Right to Education" aims at raising billions of dollars to ensure that all girls go to school by 2015 in line with United Nations Millennium goals.