Person of The Year

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Today’s Daily Prompt: “You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?:”

An excellent question. If we are talking about 2012 then several people immediately spring to mind but first I’d like to think about the idea of “TIME’s Person of The Year” (TPoTY).

TIME have long held that TPoTY is not an award as such, it is given to the person (and sometimes a group of people or a thing) who “for better or for worse, …has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Note that in 1939 they chose Adolf Hitler despite the blitzkreig across Europe and the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. More often though it has been awarded to someone admirable in the yea and we have come to see it as an award.

What do we mean by “influence the events of the year” and “admirable”? Who would I choose from the year 2012? Would I nominate someone that was a huge personal influence or someone who influenced the world?

I’d like to look at two young women and nominate them both.

In study after study it has been shown that one of the best ways of relieving people from poverty is by educating the women in a society. When you educate women family incomes rise, social stability rises, infant mortality drops at the same time as average family size drops, malnutrition drops and disease morbidity drops. It’s universally successful.

That’s why a young woman who is outspoken on women’s rights and education will always deserve our praise. When we see one who does so for many years in the middle of a repressive and violent regime it goes beyond that.

Malala Yousafzai was 11 when she first started writing a blog for the BBC on the repression that surrounded her in the Taliban controlled Swat area of Pakistan and her views, she was particularly vocal in her condemnation of school closures. She was so politically active and so loud a voice that her life was threatened by the Taliban.

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