Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik voted to pass the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act, legislation that she cosponsored. In 2017, Pakistan was ranked the second worst in the world among all countries evaluated for gender equality by the World Economic Forum. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Merit and Needs Based Scholarships fund full tuition and stipends for housing, textbooks and food for economically disadvantaged Pakistani youth to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree at thirty partner universities across Pakistan. This bill directs USAID to issue at least half of its Merit and Needs-Based Scholarships for higher education in Pakistan to women during each year of the 2020-2022 period. Additionally, it requires USAID to annually brief Congress on whether they achieved this goal.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for girl’s education who survived a direct attack by the Taliban in 2012. She and her father established the Malala Fund to support 12 years of primary and secondary education for girls globally. She became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 for her advocacy.

“Less than 6% of women 25 and older in Pakistan attain a bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I continue to be inspired by Malala Yousafzai, the inspiration for this important, bipartisan legislation. I am a staunch advocate for promoting education and opportunity for women and girls across the country and am proud to cosponsor and help pass this bill today in the House. Ensuring young women have access to the same scholarships and resources that young men do is critical to bringing up our next generation of leaders.”