what will married life look like?

“She grew up seeing what a happy marriage can do. If it’s the right person, having a partner in their life can be very helpful for them. And the good thing about her marriage is that she’s found someone who appreciates her for who she is and doesn’t clip her wings at all — not that that’s very easy.”

Nimco Ali, a fellow activist who advises the government on combating violence against women and girls, believes Yousafzai’s decision to marry now may have been deliberate. “I think she is preparing to enter Pakistani politics. I am sure that she is happy and in love so I wish her the best of luck but at the same time this might be helpful if she is pursuing a career in Pakistani politics where you cannot always be a single woman educated and powerful. ”

Malik is currently based in Lahore for his work and there is talk of Yousafzai moving there to continue her career. But despite being one of the most famous women around the world, she’s still a divisive figure in her homeland.

For some she is a standard-bearer for the potential of a progressive Pakistan, while for others she is loathed for having become a tool of Westerners who want to portray the country and Islam as backward and violent.
Her comments about the marriage sparked convulsions among religious hardliners, and even photos of her wearing jeans drew criticism.

Yousafzai continues to speak longingly about her homeland and has admitted she is considering returning to Pakistan. So far, however, she has only been able to return for a brief three-day visit in 2018. For this trip, she was accompanied by a military escort, and the level of security put in place highlighted the potential difficulties her move there could bring to her married life.

For this trip, Yousafzai was accompanied by a military escort and the level of security provided highlighted the potential difficulties of moving there to begin her married life. Siddiqi, who herself has a government-supplied security guard since her attacker was released from prison after just two years in prison, thinks it’s a possibility. “The government of Pakistan would ensure that Malala has the necessary security at all times and does not have to fear anything when she comes back.”

It remains to be seen where Yousafzai will choose to pursue married life – whether in her native Pakistan, her “home away from home” as she calls it Birmingham since her family moved there almost a decade ago, or whether she’s moving there for a fresh start in the US, where it already has a multi-year program deal with Apple TV+.

“I’m very excited to see what she does next,” says Lamb. “She is still committed to the education of girls and women through the Malala Fund, and that is more important than ever in the wake of the pandemic and with what is happening in Afghanistan. She’s talked about going into politics in the past, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she does one day. I think she would be a great addition to the political scene.

“But after seeing her grow from a girl to a grown young woman, she’s still the same Malala she always was. She’s always been mature beyond her years, and what’s amazing about her is that despite all the extraordinary things she’s been through, she’s still remained very down to earth. She hasn’t changed and I don’t think she ever will.”

Additional reporting by Ben Farmer what will married life look like?

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