Maria Toorpakai is a professional squash player, currently ranked as Pakistan's top female player and 48th in the world. As a child growing up in a highly conservative tribal area of Pakistan where girls' involvement in sport was forbidden by the local Islamic culture, Toorpakai trained and competed as a boy in Peshawar. Toorpakai currently resides and trains in Toronto, Canada, under former professional squash player Jonathon Power. Toorpakai is the sister of Ayesha Gulalai, who is a Member of the National Assembly representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on a reserved seat for women.
"Maria Toorpakai is a true inspiration, a pioneer for millions of other women struggling to pave their own paths to autonomy, fulfillment, and genuine personhood." --Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed