Malala Yousafzai awarded top French prize [fr]

Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Paris, 8 January 2013

M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will have a meeting at 7.30 p.m. today, Tuesday, 8 January, with Mr Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala Yousafzai.

Mr Yousafzai is in Paris to receive, on behalf of his daughter, the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom, which will be presented to him tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 January, at the Maison de l’Amérique latine. Malala Yousafzai, who is currently living in the UK, was the victim of an assassination attempt in October last year because of her determined commitment to the right to education.

The meeting will be an opportunity to express France’s commitment to women’s rights and solidarity with Malala Yousafzai in her fight for the right to girls’ education./.

- Video: Mr Yousafzai receiving the prize on behalf of his daughter

Joint communiqué issued by Paris Diderot University, the Institut français and Mazars

Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom 2013 awarded to Malala Yousafzai

For its sixth edition, the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom has been awarded to Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani human rights campaigner. The prize will be presented on 9 January 2013 at the official ceremony, which will take place at the Maison de l’Amérique latine.

Malala Yousafzai, 15, came to prominence through the blog she wrote for the BBC in 2009, when the Taliban controlled the Swat Valley. In it she condemned their actions and championed the right of girls to education. In 2011 the Pakistani government awarded her the National Youth Peace Prize. Malala continued to campaign for girls’ access to education and women’s rights after the Pakistani army operation to drive the Taliban out of the Swat Valley. The victim of a Taliban assassination attempt on 9 October 2012, she was taken to the UK to receive the treatment necessary for her recovery.

The jury – chaired by Josyane Savigneau, with Julia Kristeva and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir as honorary chairs – is made up of figures from the world of the arts and literature. The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom – created on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth – distinguishes men, women and voluntary organizations who, like Simone de Beauvoir, fight to defend women’s rights wherever they are under threat. Supported by the Institut français, Paris Diderot University and the international audit and consulting group Mazars, the prize is endowed with €20,000.

In awarding this distinction, the jury of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom wishes to help galvanize international solidarity, reaffirm women’s rights in the world, guarantee the protection of women who are today risking their lives for the struggle, and defend alongside them the ideals of equality and peace.

“The Institut français, in coordination with the French cultural network abroad, fully supports the Simone de Beauvoir Prize in championing women’s freedom around the world. I congratulate the jury of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom for choosing this year, 2013, Malala Yousafzai, who embodies the struggle against all forms of fundamentalism and intolerance.” – Xavier Darcos, President of the Institut français.

“We don’t think a company can be summed up by its turnover: above all, it’s a matter of values. For the past four years, Mazars has been committed to a strategy of equality, with a view to a better representation of women in the organization. Moreover, this prize is consistent with one of our remits, human rights auditing, because without women’s rights there can be no human rights. We’re proud to support the Simone de Beauvoir Prize, which rewards an international woman who upholds women’s freedom.” – Philippe Castagnac, CEO of Mazars.

“Being a partner and supporting the Simone de Beauvoir Prize year after year is a profound demonstration of our university’s long-standing commitment to access to knowledge by all people, male and female, without prejudice and without borders. The Simone de Beauvoir Prize, awarded this year to Malala – who has risked her life fighting for the right to girls’ education – is in tune with the commitment of our academic community. This young woman and her struggle encourage us to go even further in our campaigns for equality between women and men, girls and boys, and for the right to education of all individuals, male and female.” – Vincent Berger, President of Paris Diderot University.

The Simone de Beauvoir Prize

Created in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth (on 9 January 1908), the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom is awarded every year to laureates selected by an international jury.

In January 2012 the prize was awarded to the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women and in January 2011 to Ludmila Ulitskaya.

Simone de Beauvoir

French philosopher, novelist and essayist Simone de Beauvoir was a major feminist theorist of the 20th century. Author of the Le Deuxième Sexe [The Second Sex] in 1949, in countless different ways throughout her life she demonstrated her total support for the defence of women’s rights.

The jury for the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom


Josyane Savigneau (Chair of the Jury, Le Monde journalist)

Julia Kristeva (Founding Chair, professor at Paris Diderot University, writer and psychoanalyst)

Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (Honorary Chair of the Jury)

Elisabeth Badinter (philosopher)

Constance Borde (translator)

Gérard Bonal (writer)

Chahla Chafiq (writer and sociologist)

Denis Charbit (professor of French civilization at Tel Aviv University)

Cécile Decousu (PhD student)

Annie Ernaux (writer)

Claire Etcherelli (writer)

Madeleine Gobeil-Noël (former arts director at UNESCO)

Sihem Habchi (President of the “Ni Putes ni Soumises” movement)

Liliane Kandel (sociologist)

Ayse Kiran (professor at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey)

Claude Lanzmann (writer, film-maker and director of the Revue des Temps modernes)

Björn Larsson (writer, professor at Lund University, Sweden)

Liliane Lazar (Simone de Beauvoir Society, United States)

Annette Lévy-Willard (Libération journalist, writer)

Anne-Marie Lizin (Senator, President of the Conseil des Femmes de Wallonie, Belgium)

Sheila Malovany-Chevallier (translator)

Malka Marcovich (historian)

Kate Millett (writer, artist and sculptor, United States)

Yvette Roudy (Minister for Women’s Rights from 1981 to 1986)

Danièle Sallenave (writer)

Alice Schwarzer (writer, Germany)

Margaret Simons (professor of philosophy, Southern Illinois University, United States)

Annie Sugier, (President of the Ligue du Droit internationale des Femmes)

Linda Weil-Curiel (lawyer)

Anne Zelensky (writer, President of the Ligue du Droit des Femmes, cofounded with Simone de Beauvoir)

Published on 09/01/2013

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