Pakistani activist Ayisha Siddiqa makes it to TIME’s Women of the Year

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Pakistani climate activist Ayisha Siddiqa has made it to TIME’s Women of the Year 2023. She’s featured alongside the likes of Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett and Phoebe Bridgers. The 24-year-old human rights and climate defender is hoping to find a way to bring “humanity back into the staid, high-level conversations that increasingly occupy her time.”
According to the outlet, “Siddiqa felt the effects of this lack of action viscerally last year as she witnessed from afar the life-altering impacts of Pakistan’s floods, likely made more extreme by global warming. She channeled those feelings into poetry as a form of protest.”
“It’s an effort to preserve what I have left, while I still have the time, in written form,” she says. “Art makes life worth living, and in my opinion, it’s what makes humans worth the fight. Like all of the things that we leave behind, all the creations, wouldn’t it be so unfortunate if there’s nobody on the other side to witness and observe them?”

Growing up in a matriarchal, tribal community in eastern Pakistan helped shape her perspective. “The wounded world is so beautiful because she keeps producing life,” she says to the publication. “And my work is in defense of life. By default, its defense of the rights of women. Therefore, it’s also by default human rights.”
These realities and values are what motivate Siddiqa to use her voice to uplift the vulnerable and hold polluters to account. “I was raised with the idea that the earth is a living being, that she gives life to you and in return, you have a responsibility,” she says. “And I think we, collectively, have come to a point where we are ignoring the cries of the earth mother.”