On Monday, Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir shared her inspiring story of defiance as a part of the United Nation’s Women’s International Forum at UN headquarters in New York City.
Watch the entire lecture above courtesy of UN Web TV.
Wazir, the world No. 66, released her autobiography titled A Different Kind of Daughter earlier this year, which charts her remarkable journey to becoming a professional athlete by disguising herself as a boy in order to train, compete and attend school in her native Waziristan—a Taliban controlled area of Pakistan where the idea of sport for women is decried un-Islamic and girls rarely leave their homes.
With the support of her parents Wazir defied Taliban-threats, competing in the face of almost universal hostility to prevail and is now the top ranked female squash player in Pakistan—and she will share her story with some of the most influential women in the international arena on Monday.
“Maria is an extraordinary role-model not just for women in sport but for all women around the world, ” said PSA Deputy Chairman Ashley Bernhard.
“Her story is one of incredible bravery and determination and to even begin to imagine the challenges and threats that she has overcome in order to pursue her dream is truly inspiring. Maria’s journey is one that can inspire millions of women around the world to realize that they too can empower themselves and she will be a fitting spokeswomen for the sport of squash and for women’s rights during the upcoming UN meeting. I would like to thank the UN members for giving Maria the opportunity to share her story with them next week.”
The mission of the Women’s International Forum is to provide a forum for briefings and discussions on international affairs, in order to promote understanding and mutual appreciation among members of the diplomatic community, the United Nations Secretariat and the United Nations community at large and to network, promote knowledge and raise awareness about current international issues particularly those related to the United Nations, and to uphold the purpose and the principles of the United Nations Charter.