El Día Internacional de la Mujer
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International Women’s Day

In the month when we have celebrated International Women’s Day, I introduce you to several women who have made a significant impact on education.

In October 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl, was shot by the Taliban as she returned from school. Rushed to the United Kingdom, doctors removed the bullet from her head and after several months of recovery, she was discharged. When she woke up in a Birmingham hospital, 10 days after the attack, she had become a symbol not only in Pakistan but around the world.

Malala spoke at the United Nations where she proposed to the international community ‘education for all the children of the world’. “Without quality, inclusive, and equitable education for all and lifelong learning opportunities, countries will not achieve gender equality or break the cycle of poverty.”

Since then, Malala has been a beacon for humanity. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

Concepción Arenal, a law graduate, journalist, and writer, was a prison visitor and one of the pioneers of feminism in our country, convinced of women’s right to vote. She deeply believed that education prevented crime and social marginalization. She studied the condition of prisoners in jails and denounced the poor conditions in which they lived. She was a key figure in women’s education. From a very young age, she expressed her desire to study at university and when she reached the age to enter, she was rejected for being a woman. She had to disguise herself as a man, wearing a cape and hat, and did so for a while until she was discovered. The rector allowed her to take an exam, thanks to which she ended up studying law.

“Open schools and prisons will close.”

María de Maeztu, born in Vitoria in 1881, was a pioneer in the fight for women’s education in Spain, a mission she pursued throughout her career as a teacher, from her start in a humble school located in the Las Cortes neighborhood of Bilbao, to her establishment in Madrid, where she worked tirelessly to ensure that young women who came to study in the capital could receive the best possible university education. “The old saying that ‘learning must be etched with blood’ is true, but it should not be the child’s blood, but rather the teacher’s.”

Finally, Maria Montessori, a woman with an impressive resume who revolutionized the educational system of her time and completely made me rethink my view of the child and how education should be. Thanks to her inspiration, the International Montessori School of Sotogrande was born because, like her, we are convinced that Montessori education is the best tool to prepare our children for the future and for life.

“The essence of Montessori education is to assist the child in their development and help them adapt to any conditions the present may require.”

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