Meet Shad Begum who, despite being born and raised in a conservative area, didn’t back down from availing education, fighting the societal norms and championing women rights in her area – Swat. Her father and later her husband became her only support who didn’t let her follow the fate other girls of that area are destined to, rather they encouraged her to avail education- no matter how much people around bashed them for supporting Shad Begum in her 'nonconforming' endeavors.
Deeply impacted by the social inequalities and inspired by her father’s social work in her early age, Shad Begum opened her non-profit organization, Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation Official, to advance the economic and political empowerment of women and marginalized communities.
“We women need to understand our own worth, if we, ourselves, would underestimate our strength, potential, and self-respect - no one is ever going to accept us or give us space. We need to stand up for our rights, instead of waiting for somebody else to come and help us.”
In recognition of her untiring struggle for the economic and political empowerment of women and girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she was awarded the “International Woman of Courage Award” in 2012 by the U.S. Department of State. Shad Begum is an Ashoka, Acumen, and Regan Fascell Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy.
“The society we live in, men are the decision makers; until and unless we do not engage, sensitize and motivate men - not only to stop but also to stand against all forms of harassment/violence against women - we cannot eradicate violence against women."