Following up on this years ‘International Day of Girl’, which is celebrated every year on the 11th October, we decided to feature some of Pakistan’s bravest women activists who are working to empower not only women in their country but also influence young women and girls through their incredible work in Pakistan, we went ahead to ask them what would they like to say to girls out there. ‘International Day of Girl’ is a day to recognize how hard it is to be a girl especially in a world where every 10 seconds an adolescent girl dies due to an act of violence, in Pakistan alone data on gender-based violence is often non-existent and policymakers are not able to properly formalize strategies that seem to combat such violence against women and minor girls. In honor of this day, we decided to showcase the struggles of some of Pakistan’s leading activists who are working for young women and girls particularly those most at risk, these amazing women heroes through their inspirational work are not only able to send a message of change but also be the driving force for change across the country. Nighat Dad: Pakistan’s Digital Rights Crusader Nighat Dad, a lawyer and human rights activist hailing from a small village near Jhang who has been quite a influencing force as the founder of Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), which is a non-profit organization that has been quite a driving force when it comes to combating cyberbullying and digital security initiatives for women and young girls. Through her NGO she has been able to research and advocate for digital solutions that support human rights, democratic processes and digital governance in Pakistan. In 2016, she was awarded the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award and Dutch government’s Human Rights Tulip award, she was also awarded the TED fellowship in 2017. We went ahead and asked some questions related to the importance of this day, following were the questions asked: What inspired you to work on the issues you do?My inspiration was derived from the daily suffering of women who face issues which are important not only to talk about but to help them seek solutions that end the violence they face both in their offline and physical spaces. I feel these issues were never talked the way they are now, we are reaching out to them because these young women and girls face the threat of violence, harassment, death, and rape often at the hands of their very own. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, there is very little recognition of these issues which I think every woman has a right to use despite the threats they face in order to exercise their way. I realize that I cannot change things alone, I need more change agents. I need more women leaders like me who can influence technology and women rights. My strategy was to get more change agents who can spread the word and who can take the mission forward. How are you able to influence change through your work, what challenges have you had to overcome to be who you are? The people I work with really feel for the cause. Similarly, I feel this cause is really close to my heart. We put our lives at risk to make the lives of others safe. The challenges are many, there are lots of threats out there but despite that, we are overcoming them and with the help of our hotline which is able to deal with 15-20 complaints a day related to cyberbullying, domestic violence and even rape. With the help of our work we are able to bring change into the lives of many who weren’t able to reach out to their families or the authorities for help, now that’s an inspiration for us which definitely motives us to do more.” What is your message to young girls out there? My message to all the girls out there is it is very difficult to reclaim our spaces which basically are our fundamental human right especially when it comes to violence we must not stay silent over these issues and we must fight back. There are people who can definitely support and help victims of violence, we are here to help. I think moreover we need to change the narrative behind this dreaded notion of misogyny that I feel needs to be changed; in the same way, the idea of patriarchy needs to challenged in our society. This is not only the responsibility or the job of women but of every citizen of this country. I believe every citizen is equal; the burden of combating gender-based violence should not only be for women and girls only. Why is it that every time we are giving a message to our girls and we seem to ignore our boys? Why is there a difference when the message should go for everyone? Girls should not remain silent, this is your country as well. The rights are yours as well, the institutions are there and there is support out there. The misogyny, sexism, and patriarchy (all these evils in our society) need to be challenged every day with everyone sharing the burden.