A Houston school replaced a quote encouraging its young women to act ladylike with a phrase from a Pakistani activist after allegations that the original phrase is sexist and shames women.
“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world,” reads the new quote in Houston’s Gregory-Lincoln Middle School. The quote comes from 21-year-old Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and is the youngest Nobel Prize winner to date.
Yousafzai’s phrase replaced the quote, “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”
“It’s perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility,” a Houston area resident, Lisa Beckman, tweeted Friday. “It’s sexist, misogynistic, and discriminatory! I’m horrified,” she added.
The quote can be attributed to the “Mayflower Madam,” properly known as Sydney Biddle Barrows, who owned an escort service in New York City, according to Fox News.
The district quickly took action after Beckman’s photo prompted a strong online reaction.
“The quote does not align with HISD values, and it will be taken down,” the school said in a statement addressing the quote’s removal, according to Houston Public Media.
The photo of the original phrase has more than 9,000 retweets and over 24,000 likes.
The original phrase wasn’t “an image of the equality and self-determination that, we as a district or myself as a mother, want to portray,” said a Gregory-Lincoln teacher who asked to remain anonymous, Fox reported.
Third graders will read Yousafzai’s book “Malala’s Magic Pencil” this school year, according to KHOU11.
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