“How can we eliminate all kinds of discrimination and make this world more beautiful?”
Rubina demonstrates a deep passion for and dedication to women’s empowerment in Pakistan.
Rubina was raised in an environment of acceptance at a time when living in Pakistan meant that intolerance was the norm. She was taught to treat every person equally and a belief in fairness is one of the things that encouraged her to begin advocating for women’s rights in Pakistan.
Rubina received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree, and originally taught chemistry. Her first foray into activism was trying to stop the inclusion of religious identity on identification cards in Pakistan. Often times, she was the only woman at protests and discussions on the issue, which turned her into a recognizable leader.
In 1998, Rubina and a group of her students formed the group Taangh Wasaib, meaning “longing for the fullness of humanity.” Over time, Rubina’s student group grew and began working with women on a variety of issues. As a human rights activist, Rubina has spoken out about honour killings, acid attacks, domestic abuse and wan’ni (the trading of female family members as conflict compensation). Through Taangh Wasaib, she has provided many women with the tools to increase their mobility, while also providing them with opportunities in their own communities.
In 2005, Rubina was among the 1,000 women nominated jointly for the Nobel Peace Prize. Although her work takes her all over the world to give talks on human rights issues, her primary focus is on building the peace process in Pakistan to include women. “I’m so determined to engage rural women and grassroots women in all these peace efforts,” says Rubina.
Rubina’s dedication to women’s empowerment in Pakistan proves that one person’s commitment to change can make a world of difference!
Pakistani case shows limits of women's rights, the Washington Post, 25 Apr 2011.
Pakistan: Women's rights activist killed, Global Voices, 7 Jul 2012.
The cost of women's rights in Northwest Pakistan, National Public Radio, 19 Jul 2012.
The girl who changed Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai, the Daily Beast, 22 Oct 2012.
In Pakistan, education is no shield against female violence, the Express Tribune, 25 Nov 2012.