Long before the Taliban attempted to assassinate her, Malala Yousafzai had enjoyed a high public profile for her educational activism. In some of the more traditional parts of Pakistan, education for girls was not regarded as a priority; indeed, it was actively discouraged. Malala, however, despite her young age, recognized the importance of education for girls as integral to female empowerment, especially in such a traditional society.
Malala's tireless activism brought her to the attention of veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who nominated her for the 2011 International Children's Peace Prize. Although Malala didn't win the prize, her public profile was raised further, leading directly to her being awarded the inaugural National Peace Prize by Yousaf Raza Gillani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the time.