Pakistani women are making a mark in the world yet again as three of them have made it to BBC’s 100 Women list. The list comprises several women from Afghanistan among other countries in a number of categories such as Culture and Education, Entertainment and Sport, Politics and Activism along with Science and Health.

Three Pakistani women on the list are Malala Yousafzai – the youngest Nobel Prize laureate with Abia Akram – a disability leader and Laila Haidari – Founder, Mother Camp.

Malala Yousafzai

The outlet stated, “The youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girls’ education activist and UN messenger of peace. She has spoken up for the right of young women to education since she was 11”.

It also added, “Her activism began with blogs for the BBC about living under Taliban rule in Pakistan and the ban on girls attending school. In October 2012, a gunman boarded her bus, looking for her, and shot her in the head.” The statement also read, “Following her recovery, she has continued her work as co-founder of the non-profit Malala Fund, aiming to build a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.”

It also cited Malala saying, “Hundreds of millions of girls are out of school today. I want to see a world where every girl can access 12 years of free, safe, and quality education; where all girls can learn and lead.”

Abia Akram

Abia Akram is an activist in the disability movement since 1997. She started the Special Talent Exchange Program (Step). The publication stated, “She is the first woman from Pakistan to be nominated co-ordinator for the Commonwealth Young Disabled People’s Forum. Akram is the founder of the National Forum of Women with Disabilities and has campaigned for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Development”. BBC also added, “She is also working to include disability in the UN 2030 Agenda and its sustainable development goals.”

Abia said, “To reset the world after the Covid-19 pandemic, we must act jointly to improve all aspects of our societies on which the ‘new normal’ will be built, and we should see far more inclusive development as a result.”

Laila Haidari

With Kabul’s drug rehabilitation center, Mother Camp, Laila Haidari has helped around 6,400 Afghans since 2010, despite taboos concerning drug users, the outlet shared. The publication said, “She established the camp using her own savings and financed it by opening a restaurant, run by recovering addicts, which had to close after the fall of Kabul”.

It read, “Haidari’s family is originally from Bamyan but she was born a refugee in Pakistan. A former child bride, married at 12, she is a vocal advocate of women’s rights”. BBC further stated, “She features in the acclaimed documentary Laila at the Bridge (2018), about her struggles to keep her centre open despite threats and opposition.”

Laila remarked, “I hope that awareness will spread so that we can have a more moral and humane world. We live in an interconnected world where the vote of an American citizen can fundamentally change the fate of an Afghan.”


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