Washington: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a legislation named after Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai which expands the number of scholarships to girls from her country.
Authored by Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act expands the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women under USAID's Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program by requiring that at least half of the scholarships that are made available go to women.
"For years, I've expressed concern about the appalling state of education in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the subsequent rise of madrasas that prey upon the disenfranchised and breed radicalism," said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The situation for women in areas where access to education is actively suppressed is particularly grim. It's fitting that today's legislation was named for Malala Yousafzai, who at the age of fifteen dared to defy the Taliban, survived a brutal assassination attempt, and ultimately inspired a generation of women and girls to demand their fundamental right to be educated," he said.
"At the heart of this bill is a push to help educate women and girls; a step that pays long-term dividends that helps stabilize societies, promotes economic growth, and advances US national security objectives," Royce said.
"The United States provides merit and needs-based scholarships to Pakistani children, but this bill will ensure that at least half of those scholarships go to women," said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.
17-year-old Malala, who survived a near-fatal Taliban attack two years ago with determination advocating education for girls, won the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for the prestigious global award this year.