In this issue of The Lady : Last week, a Birmingham-based teenager named
Malala Yousafzai was awarded one of the world’s
great honours: the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala
grew up in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where she
campaigned to get more young girls into school.
For her troubles, the Taliban shot her in the head.
Thanks to the eff orts of surgeons in Birmingham,
she beat the odds to survive and now lives
in the city from where she continues to be an inspirational voice
against prejudice and extremism.
At just 17, Malala is already a truly extraordinary
individual. But around the world,
millions of brave, ordinary women play a
similarly inspiring role in their homes, their
neighbourhoods, their nations. Last year,
after a visit to Afghanistan, I wrote a piece
in this magazine about a woman named
Bibi, Helmand Province’s most senior
female police offi cer. She had braved unimaginable odds to get
where she was – ‘One of my cousins informed the Taliban that I
am in the police,’ she told me. ‘After that, they came and stole
some of my land. It is very dangerous now’ – and she faced the
inevitable dangers with defi ance. Just months after our meeting,
however, this bold, 37-year-old mother of three was shot dead on
her way to work.
It is a reminder that Bibi, Malala and the countless other women,
both at home and abroad, who battle to make their communities
better, safer places to live, should never be far from our thoughts.
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