Student paints 50 extraordinary women for new book, including Malala

Student Maliha Abidi wanted to honour the women of her birthplace, Pakistan.

So the 23-year-old who was raised in Karachi, and later moved to California, U.S, decided to paint them.

The artist has created exquisite paintings for her new book Pakistan for Women: Stories of Women Who Have Achieved Something Extraordinary.

In it, she details the lives of many incredible women including one of the most esteemed Nobel Peace Prize winners, Malala Yousafzai.

She also profiles human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir and Ayesha Farooq, a female fighter pilot who joined the Pakistani Air Force at 17.

Altogether, Maliha highlights the work of 50 amazing women, accompanied by her own paintings of them.

Maliha, who now studies at the University of Sussex faced some criticism along the way.

People encouraged her dad to not allow her to travel but he paid no mind. She was also criticised for including women like Malala who some are not fans of.


The neuroscience student was discouraged by some for travelling and painting, things which some don’t consider lucrative or acceptable for women.

But for the most part, Maliha’s work has received wide praise: ‘People from my country have supported this project like crazy but not just that, I have received great appreciation from different corners of the world.’

She was able to get the book published after launching a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.

‘I see that there are many women we need to celebrate who belong to my land. It is the first book of its kind to be published in Pakistan.

‘From mountaineers to astrophysicists to educators, Pakistan has these stories and this book advocates for the idea that if these Pakistani women can achieve their dreams through hard work and dedication, so can all the girls reading their stories.’

Here are some more of Maliha’s paintings including other incredible women:



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