Highlighting the importance of girls’ education

Ziauddin Yousafzai

The importance of girls’ education will be emphasised during a special public lecture at the University of Adelaide, featuring activist and educator Mr Ziauddin Yousafzai, whose daughter Malala was a Nobel Prize winner in 2014. 

The free event will be hosted by Professor Susan James Relly, Head of School at the University of Adelaide’s School of Education. 

“The University of Adelaide is delighted to welcome educator Mr Yousafzai who will present this year’s Kevin Marjoribanks Memorial lecture The Importance of Girls’ Education: A Father’s Perspective, at our North Terrace campus,” she said. 

“Across the world there are 129 million girls who have not had the opportunity to attend school, and only 49 per cent of countries worldwide have achieved gender parity in education. These statistics speak to why it is paramount changes are made to enable all girls the right to an education. This is a global issue of great importance.” 

The event’s speaker, Mr Yousafzai, is an educational activist and teacher. After the Talibanisation of his home region, his daughter Malala took a stand beside him in the fight for the education rights of girls.  

Mr Yousafzai is known globally for his commitment to peace and his ongoing efforts for the education of girls in Pakistan and beyond. 

“Investing in girls' education transforms families, communities, and societies. It strengthens economies and reduces inequality,” said Professor James Relly. 

“Investment in girls' education results in less child mortality, less maternal mortality, child marriage rates decline, the lifetime earnings of girls dramatically increase, and national growth rates rise.  

“Education is a key pathway to equality,” she said. “And equality of opportunity underpins this.” 

Jaclyn Steffan, a PhD student from the University’s School of Education, will provide closing remarks at the lecture. 

“In Australia, girls are lucky to have an equal right to education, however as an educator and student I know there are still challenges faced by girls that hinder their ability to fully participate in the education system and achieve equitable outcome,” she said. 

“It is vital to empowering girls to seek a variety of education opportunities as this will only build confidence and reduce discrimination and inequality.” 

The memorial lecture is named in honour of Professor Kevin Marjoribanks whose life-long research focused on the analysis of inequalities in education. Professor Kevin Marjoribanks was appointed as Dean of the School of Education in 1974, served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1987 to 1993, and retired as Dean of the School of Education in 2006. The Oration is funded by his family through a benefaction. 

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