(WASHINGTON) — Secretary Clinton spoke in front of a group of Girl Scouts Wednesday to talk about the State Department’s efforts to fight child marriage. But first she honored 14-year-old Malala Yousufzain, calling the Pakistani teenager brave, and highlighting her campaign for girls’ education in her country.
Clinton condemned her shooting, saying her attackers were “threatened” by her. “She was attacked and shot by extremists who don’t want girls to have an education and don’t want girls to speak for themselves and don’t want girls to become leaders,” said Clinton.
The secretary told the crowd of young women that though Malala was in critical condition, they should continue her fight for the rights of girls world-wide.
“We should be dedicating our efforts to brave young women, some of whose names we will know and some we will never know,” she said. “Who struggle against tradition and culture and even outright hostility and sometimes violence to pursue their hopes, their God-given potential, to have a life of meaning and purpose and make contributions to their families, their communities, their countries and the world.”
The secretary said Malala’s plight is a reminder of the dangers that simply being female continue to pose in many parts of the world.
“Yesterday’s attack reminds of the challenges that girls face, whether it’s poverty or marginalization or even violence, just for speaking out for their basic rights.”
Secretary Clinton, along with South African apartheid and human rights activist Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, launched the “Girls Brides” campaign, which is striving to end child marriage globally by 2030. The State Department estimates that there are currently 10 million girls across the world who are forced into child marriage.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN