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Women Who Changed the World

Malala Yousafzai


Who: Malala Yousafzai (July 12, 1997 - Present)

What she's known for: Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and human rights, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocay triggered a movement around the world, making her the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Why we love her: In early 2009, when she was 11, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer a journalist made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in renown, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize.

On October 9, 2012, while on a bus after taking an exam, Yousafzai and two other girls were shot and injured by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism. She was hit in the head with a bullet but after several surgeries and a medically induced coma she awoke with only minor brain damage.

In 2013, Yousafzai released an autobiography titled, "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban", which received praise and garnered even more support for the unstoppable activist's causes.

She also established the Malala Fund, a foundation seeking to "empower girls and amplify their voices...invest in local education leaders and programmes...and advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child."

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