People with the courage to Explore a Better Future
Written by Josh Bryer
It takes courage to effect real change in the world. PAM aligns with a brave new future, by exploring rare metal. With rare mettle. And by honouring those leading the changes.
ZAHRA JOYA – for her unerring resolve
Another inspiring leader is Zahra Joya, who was also recently named one of Time Magazine’s 12 Women of the Year for 2022.
Joya was born in a small rural village in Afghanistan and was 5 years old when the Taliban seized power. From 1996 to 2001, they banned almost all education for girls. But in a move that perfectly encapsulates Joya’s resolve and strength of spirit, she would dress as a boy and call herself Mohammed, walking alongside her uncle for two hours each day to get to school.
After the US and its allies toppled the Taliban government in 2001, she was able to drop her disguise and enrol in law school in Kabul, with a plan to follow in her father’s footsteps as a Prosecutor. But moved by the untold stories of abuse and neglect by her female classmates, she decided to become a journalist instead, unafraid of the dangers and difficulties of being a female reporter in Afghanistan.
When Joya worked as the Deputy Director of Communications at the Kabul municipal government, she was often the only female journalist there — and was told by her male colleagues that women don’t have the capacity or skills for the job. Of course, this only steeled her resolve to fight for women’s rights in her country — which she has stayed the course on for two decades and counting.
After the collapse of the Afghan government last year, Zahra fled to the UK where she now lives and works. She was a natural choice for Time Magazine thanks to her dedicated work with Rukhshana Media, a platform she founded with a focus on stories by and about Afghan women.
Journalism isn’t a job for Joya. It’s a powerful tool for change. To quote her in her talk with Time,
“We don’t do simple journalism these days. We are trying to write for our freedom.”