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Influential Women in Education

Malala Yousafzai


Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for the education of women and children, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In 2012, Yousafzai was shot while she was campaigning for female education. Then, in 2013, she created Malala Fund, an international non-profit organization, that strives to bolster female secondary education and challenge socio-cultural norms that discourage women’s participation in education. Malala Fund has invested over 20 million dollars in education programs “at the local, national and international levels for resources and policy changes that improve access to education for girls”.


Michelle Rhee


Michelle Rhee is an American education activist and educator. In 1997, Rhee founded The New Teacher Project (TNTP), with the mission of increasing access to education for students living in underprivileged regions. As of 1997, TNTP has trained over 40,000 teachers and taught approximately 7 million students. In 2007, Rhee was the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools until 2010. By late 2010, she founded StudentsFirst, a political lobbying organization, that advocates for education reform. StudentFirst supports teacher evaluation systems to maximize student achievement, expanding charter schools, and teacher tenure reform.


Emma Watson


Emma Watson is an English actress, model, humanitarian, and activist for gender equality and female education. In 2014, Watson served as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, with the goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women. Watson is also an advocate for the UN Women’s HeForShe movement that strives to achieve social, political, and economic gender equality. Throughout her years of activism, Watson visited Zambia and Bangladesh to educate students in impoverished regions, and encourage humanitarian efforts.


Ann Cotton


Ann Cotton is a Welsh entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of the Campaign for Female Education, also known as CAMFED in 1993. CAMFED is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower women and improve educational services in sub-Saraharn Africa. So far, CAMFED has supported over 2 million students with educational support including 339,631 students with secondary scholarships and 881,419 students with access to primary school. In 2006, Cotton was recognized for her efforts to improve education for young women and was awarded an Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.


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