Samar Minallah Khan, a Pakistani anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, uses her work to raise awareness about culturally sanctioned forms of violence against women. Her first film, a documentary on compensation marriages, was the first of it’s kind to be dubbed in regional languages.

“Through my films, even instantly I see how people and their mindset change when they hear a particular testimony or hear a voice that they have never heard before.”

Samar Minallah Khan’s work has inspired activism and initiated policy change. Following the release of her film, the Pakistani government increased punishment for compensation marriages. In addition, Khan launched a successful lawsuit against the practice in Pakistani Supreme Court.

“It’s vital to acknowledge the role that men and boys play in challenging violence against women…it doesn’t have to be something heroic…it’s just the very simple things that make a big difference. “

Another of her documentaries, A Lullaby for You, My Daughter, emphasizes the importance of girl’s education in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Understanding that girls’ access to education and addressing gender-based violence affect entire societies, Khan advocates for the involvement of men and boys in challenging all forms of violence against women.


Watch our interview with Samar Minallah Khan as part of the Profiles in Peace: Oral Histories Project  here:

Contributors include Erica Vasquez, Mara D’Amico, Laura Fairman and Chandini Jha.