The Queen of My Self

Benazir Hotaki’s lifelong work began when she was appointed as a teacher at the Malalai School in Afghanistan. She also served as the headmistress and principle of several schools in Kabul. During her career as an educator, she was awarded numerous medals of honor, certificates and commendations. She was named Teacher of the Year four times and once Mother of the Year. She has frequently represented Afghanistan as a cultural and political emissary.

She is a pioneer of the Afghani women’s movement and has published extensively in defense of Girl’s Education in innumerable academic journals. She struggled to advocate for peace and reconciliation between warring factions during the brutal Taliban regime. But when women were banned from education and employment, Hotaki was forced to seek refuge in Pakistan, where she continued her activities in exile.

Today Queen Hotaki serves as a head of the Council of Media at the Ministry of Information and Culture in Afghanistan, while at the same time railing against the systematic abuse of women and girls.

We’re caged. All doors are closed to us. All we can do is cook. We’re not human beings any longer. We only eat, drink, and sleep, like animals.

A very vocal proponent of equal rights for women in both social and political spheres, her main aim is to encourage women to take part in the peace efforts and reconstruction process in Afghanistan
Our feisty Queen has a powerful ally in German Chancellor Angela Merke who has directed the German Army in Afghanistan that their main priority is to build and protect schools for girls. Queen Benazir needs all the help she can get, as the prognosis for the education for girls has been grim as of late.

Resuming the schooling of Afghanistan’s girls became a much-celebrated post-Taliban achievement for the international community, but that success is now at risk. Six schools in the northern region of Kunduz have closed following Taliban threats in recent months. It has gotten so dangerous that the German army says it can’t protect them.

Afghan girls were forbidden to attend school under the Taliban’s rule and many conservative extremist groups continue to oppose the idea. Militants in southern Afghanistan assaulted schoolgirls this past fall – driving up on motorcycles yelling obscenities and spraying acid in their faces. Several schools have been burnt down to the ground
Last May a girls’ school in northeastern Afghanistan was hit with an apparent poison gas attack, requiring the hospitalization of 84 students and 11 teachers who collapsed with headaches and nausea. The case marked the region’s third alleged poisoning at a girls’ school within roughly two weeks.

Benazir Hotaki’s biggest supporters are the schoolgirls, themselves, who keep coming back to school. Threats, beatings, burnings, acid, nothing stops them from their dogged pursuit of education. Nothing! These are the future Queens of their country. You know they are going to change things!

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.


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