Shad Begum is a women's rights activist working for the economic and political empowerment of women and youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province in the northwest of Pakistan.

Why you should listen

Deeply influenced by the social inequalities around her and inspired by her father's social work in her early years, Shad Begum has become a nationally and internationally known figure because of her determined struggle to improve the conditions of the marginalized segments, especially women, of her community in the northwest of Pakistan -- a deeply religious and conservative area where Taliban publicly execute men and women for nonconformity to their version of Islam. Begum is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Association for Behaviour & Knowledge Transformation (ABKT), an organization working toward the economic and political empowerment of communities in underserved areas of Pakistan. Her organization was uprooted during the Taliban takeover in Swat due to massive displacement of people in 2009-2010. Against enormous odds, her resilience kept ABKT alive.

Begum previously worked with the UN Human Settlements Program as a consultant for the Building Gender Ladder Project as well as with UNDP's Women Political Participation Program. To encourage women at the grassroots level, she contested local elections in 2001 as an independent candidate and served as councilor for five years in Dir Lower. Begum is an Ashoka fellow, a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy and an Acumen Fellow. She won the US Department of State's International Woman of Courage Award in 2012.

Shad Begum’s TED talk

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Live from TEDWomen

Breaking out: Notes from Session 3 of TEDWomen 2018

November 30, 2018

In session 3 of TEDWomen 2018, hosted by social justice documentarian Jess Search, a lineup of speakers and performers — Eldra Jackson III, Shad Begum, Emily Quinn, Shohini Ghose, Climbing PoeTree, Maeve Higgins and Lindy Lou Isonhood — explored toxic masculinity, quantum computing, immigration, the death penalty and much more. An empathetic cure for toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity […]

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