Maria Toorpakai Wazir

Professional Squash Player
Maria Toorpakai Foundation

Maria Toorpakai Wazir is a professional Pakistani squash player and an advocate for women's rights. Toorpakai was raised in South Waziristan, one of Pakistan’s tribal regions dominated by the Taliban, and by feminist Muslim parents who allowed her to dress as a boy beginning age 4. Under the guidance of her father, Toorpakai began competing as a boy in weightlifting competitions under the name Genghis Khan; she later turned to playing squash.
In 2006, Toorpakai went pro and the truth of her gender leaked out, leading to relentless death threats from the Taliban. She locked herself in her home for nearly four years until she was accepted to train in Toronto in 2011. The following year, Toorpakai was ranked as Pakistan’s top female squash player

[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.