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Malala Yousafzai and David Letterman on the Netflix show "My Next Guess Needs No Introduction."
Adam Rose / Netflix
Education

Malala Talks Girls Education, Extremism, and Pizza with David Letterman

Netflix gave the world a gift on International Women’s Day yesterday — the latest episode of David Letterman’s new show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” in which he interviewed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

In an hour-long segment, Letterman asks her for her take on all the tough issues, from “pizza or tacos?” (her answer was neither) to how to combat extremism and misogyny.

“I just don’t know why they don’t get it,” the 20-year-old said of world leaders’ failure to prioritize education. “They talk about eradicating extremism and ending poverty and then they ignore education. That’s the first thing that you need to do.”

“You need to give education to the future generation and allow them the opportunity to follow their dreams and then contribute to the economy and to their countries,” she said.

Take Action: Call on World Leaders to Fund Another Year of Education Cannot Wait to Keep Girls in School

Malala — who first made international headlines when the Taliban targeted and shot her on a school bus in Pakistan in 2012 — told Letterman that there’s a very simple way for world leaders to stop extremism and end poverty:

Invest in girls and their education.

“I think the answer is easy,” Malala said. “Governments need to invest more money into education, business people, everyone who is part of society they need to start thinking about investing in girls and their education.”

She explained that the fight against extremism isn’t just a fight against terrorist groups, but rather the ideology that they adhere to.

malala-letterman-netflix-interview.jpgImage: Joe Pugliese / Netflix

“That’s what we have to fight against, the ideology that exists there that does not accept women as equal to men, that does not accept women to have the right to education, that does not accept women to have the right to do a job, to decide her own future,” she said. “We have to fight against that ideology whether it exists in the mountains of Pakistan, whether it exists in these big cities, in New York, or in Washington, or anywhere.”

It’s an ideology that cannot stand up to the power of educated, independent women, she explained.

Read more: Malala Just Delivered a Powerful Message for Men at Davos

“[The Taliban] knew that education can empower women...they knew that if that woman is educated, when she goes into school, she’s going to be independent,” she told Letterman. “She’s going to be making her own decisions, she’s going to have her own status, she’s going to be doing jobs, she’s going to be going out of her house and have that personal identity, and they just did not want that,” she continued.

malala-netflix-letterman-portrait.jpgImage: Joe Pugliese / Netflix

“They just cannot accept and tolerate women as equal,” Malala said. But she won’t rest until the Taliban, and the rest of the world, finally do.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of women’s rights and gender equality. You can take action here to help empower girls and women everywhere.