It’s worth noting when the scales tip ever so slightly toward equality – as they recently have in Pakistan.
The South Asian nation officially has named a woman to its Supreme Court for the first time. Justice Ayesha Malik’s appointment was confirmed on Monday, Al Jazeera reported.
Activists like Pakistani lawyer Nighat Dad have hailed the move as “a huge step forward,” adding that Malik’s presence on the court is “history in the making.”
She has, indeed, proven herself to be a forward thinker throughout her career – something she appeared to take great pride in when speaking with the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime a few years ago. “I’ve become a voice. I’m there to call out the discrimination, call out stereotyping, and bring out the gender perspective,” she said. “I’m the voice that nudges, reminds, and suggests ways to improve ourselves and make our system more inclusive.”
Before her appointment, the Harvard-educated judge had served on Lahore’s High Court – in the capital of Pakistan’s province of Punjab – since 2012. During her time there, she made headlines for her landmark rulings in favor of gender equality, including banning invasive “virginity tests” for survivors of sexual assault.
Malik is, of course, the lone woman judge on this particular bench – she will preside over the highest court in Pakistan alongside 16 men. And her appointment didn’t come without pushback. In fact, members of the Pakistan Bar Council protested her nomination.
But her promotion is official all the same. And she aims to make sure she’s not the last woman Supreme Court justice Pakistan sees. “You must keep in mind that as you open one door that there is a line behind you,” she told the United Nations. “Don’t just open the door for yourself. You must keep it open for others, and that’s the tricky part.”