The US Congress has passed a bill named after Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai that expands the number of scholarships to women in Pakistan under a merit and needs-based programme. The ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2020, and the US Senate adopted it by a voice vote on January 1, 2021.
The bill requires the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to award at least 50 per cent of scholarships under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme to Pakistani women, from 2020 to 2022, across a range of academic disciplines and in accordance with existing eligibility criteria. Since 2010, the USAID has awarded more than 6,000 scholarships for young women to receive higher education in Pakistan. The bill expands this programme.