Why Malala Yousafzai is favoured to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Video: WATCH: Malala Yousafzai wins EU human rights prize, wins hearts on Jon Stewart and may win Nobel Peace Prize.

Odds-makers are hedging their bets Malala Yousafzai will be named the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, and with very good reason.

Not even 24 hours before she learned if the Nobel committee would bestow the honour on her, she was awarded the European Union’s top humanitarian prize – the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

It’s the latest in a long list of accolades for the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who not only publicly took on the Taliban over the issue of allowing girls to go to school in the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, but survived a murder attempt one year ago this week.

READ MORE: Who is Malala Yousafzai?

“Malala bravely stands for the right of all children to be granted a fair education. This right for girls is far too commonly neglected,” President of the EU legislature Martin Shulz said Thursday of Yousafzai’s Sakharov Prize win.

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WATCH: EU awards top human rights prize to Malala Yousafzai

Despite continued threats from the Taliban (the Islamic extremists warned her again this week), Yousafzai has not given up on her message.

The Christian Science Monitor reported this week two Nobel Peace Prize experts believe she is a favourite for the prize, to be announced Friday, because she is a “symbol of girls’ rights to education and security and her fight against extremism and oppression.”

Betting websites OddsChecker and Paddy Power put Yousafzai ahead of Congolese gynecologist and rape victim activist Denis Mukwege.

Yousafzai appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Tuesday evening, where she said she prefers to fight her battles with knowledge, not weapons.

“You must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education,” she told Stewart.

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Threats against Yousafzai began after she started blogging for the BBC Urdu in 2009, at the age of 11, detailing life under the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. After winning the International Children’s Peace Price in 2011, as well as Pakistan’s own National Peace Prize, and becoming more outspoken against the Taliban, she was shot by a militant on Oct. 9, 2012.

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She said the Taliban have destroyed more than 400 schools in Swat Valley since 2007. The Taliban banned girls from going to school in 2008.

“We are human beings and this is the part of our human nature, that we don’t learn the importance of anything until it’s snatched from our hands. And when, in Pakistan, we were stopped from going to school, at that time I realized that education is very important and education is the power for women and that’s why the terrorists are afraid of education. ”

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“It’s honestly humbling to meet you,” Stewart told her. Stewart jokingly asked if her father would be mad if he adopted Yousafzai.

Yousafzai credits her father, who spoke out about allowing girls to get the same education as boys, for inspiring her to take a stand for her rights.

Speaking to BBC this week she said she was named after Malalai of Maiwand, “a sort of Joan of Arc of Pakistan,” the BBC‘s Mishal Husain said.

“I totally disagree with this fact that women are not given the same rights… When we look at women, they are inside the home. They are imprisoned in the four walls of the house,” Yousafzai said. “Their life is to be born, then obey the orders of father, then the brother, and when she is married she will have to obey her husband.”

For her part, Yousafzai believes she has not yet earned the prize, which comes with a $1.3-million award.

“There are many people who deserve the Nobel Peace Prize and I think that I still need to work a lot. In my opinion I have not done that much to win the Nobel Peace Prize,” she told a Pakistani radio station CityFM89 this week.

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If Malala does win the prize, she will be the youngest ever recipient of the award. The previous youngest recipient was Tawakkol Karman, the Yemeni journalist and human rights activist who was a key figure in the 2011 uprising. Karman shared the prize with Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.

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Including those three, 15 women have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1905.

Yousafzai is nominated among 258 other individuals and groups, a record number that includes fellow Sakharov nominee and U.S whistleblower Edward Snowden, Guatemala‘s first female attorney general Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz and Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army private who leaked thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.

Despite the nomination, Manning said in a statement to the Guardian this week she is not an anti-war pacifist and had no knowledge of receiving another peace prize earlier this year: the 2013 Sean McBride Peace Award, named for the International Peace Bureau’s former chairman and president. It was accepted on her behalf.

Manning, who is currently serving a 35-year sentence in a U.S. military prison, said: “It’s not terribly clear to me that my actions were explicitly done for ‘peace.’ I don’t consider myself a ‘pacifist,’ ‘anti-war,’ ‘conscientious objector.'”

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