Malala Yousafzai's father perfectly shut down patriarchy and stood up for feminism


Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, just smashed notions of patriarchy and promoted feminism in one perfect quote.

In a conversation with Newsweek Middle East reporter Arfa Shahid, Yousafzai talked about the importance of raising his sons as feminists. His answer was equally heartfelt and forthright.

"Women's rights are not at the discretion of men," Yousafzai said in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. "They are rights."

Yousafzai went on to explain how he is embarrassed to be a man based on the way women are treated by individuals of his gender.

"Sometimes I feel ashamed to be a man given how men have often treated women," he said. "Male chauvinism which undermines or dismisses women's abilities is a sickness."

Yousafzai, who encouraged Malala to fight for her right to an education, mentioned how Pakistan's patriarchal culture is damaging to young girls and women. He also pointed out that even Pakistani fathers who lived in western societies for decades have these traditional sexist attitudes toward their daughters.

"Patriarchal societies like ours have a problem," he said. "Some people, even after living in the United Kingdom for 30 or more years, have these attitudes when it comes to their daughters."

Yousafzai made these remarks while attending an annual women's rights conference in the Middle East. Watch Yousafzai discuss feminism and Malala in a TED Talk here: