Malala Yousafzai is an international activist who campaigns for human rights and regularly expresses her pride in being an advocate for the education of young girls and women.
Born on 12 July 12 1997, in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Malala attended the school her father, Ziauddin, ran. However, the region was in the midst of ongoing conflict and a long war, with militant extremist group the Taliban forbidding girls from attending school.
Malala, who was an activist from an early age, first rose to prominence in Pakistan after writing a blog post for BBC Urdu, in which she detailed her life in the Taliban-occupied district.
In the posts, Malala spoke out strongly against the Taliban’s ban on girls attending school and, while they were published under a pseudonym, her identity was eventually exposed as she became increasingly vocal about girls’ education.
In 2012, Malala was specifically targeted and shot by a Taliban gunman, but she managed to survive the assassination attempt. Days later she was airlifted to England where she began the months-long road to recuperation at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Malala’s recovery was broadcast by media around the world and, by the time she was released from the hospital in January 2013, her story had gone global.
At just 15 years-old, Malala immediately stepped up her campaigning and became a female education activist, co-founding the non-profit organisation The Malala Fund and co-authoring the book I Am Malala. The teenager also resumed her studies in Birmingham and at age 17 became the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.
The activist, who was named one of TIME’s most influential people for three years running, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, began her studies at Oxford University in 2017 and completed her degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in June 2020.
Malala’s bravery, resilience and passion for women’s rights have made her an inspiration to many girls and feminists around the world. Click through the gallery above to read 10 of her most inspiring quotes on everything including female education, peace and kindness.