Friday, February 23, 2024

Squash star Maria to address United Nations

Maria wins the Nash Cup in Canada
Maria wins the Nash Cup in Canada

Squash role model speaks at UN Women’s Forum


Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir is set to share her extraordinary story of triumph in the face of adversity when she leads a discussion at the United Nation’s Women’s International Forum on Monday, June 6.

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.

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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 realise that they too can empower themselves.

“She will be a fitting spokeswomen for the sport of squash and for women’s rights during the upcoming UN meeting, and I would like to thank the UN members for giving Maria the opportunity to share her story with them next week.”



About Women’s International Forum

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. 


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  1. Dear Alan,

    Thanks for this report! I saw this incredible young spokesperson for Women, Squash, South Asia, the Islamic World – and now the UN being interviewed by Tavis Smiley on his Show:

    It was a privilege! And we cannot wait to see her follow her Counrywomen from the likes ofPrime Minister Benazir Bhutto to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. As Mr. Smiley said her father (like Malala’s) were among bthe most enlightened in a place where it is outright dangerous to be so!

    Cudos to Jonathan Power!

    Kind regards,


  2. Dear Alan,

    My apologies for 2 typographical errors:
    Firstly to Maria Toorpakai Wazir for misspelling her name – although different versions of order arise on the internet
    Secondly, to Nathan Clarke who authored the article as Guest Author on SquashMad.



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