A Congressional panel approved a proposal to increase the number of US scholarships available to women in Pakistan under the Malala Yousafzai Act, media reported Tuesday.
The legislation named after Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai was voted by the full House of Representatives during consideration of the measure by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington Monday, Dawn online reported.
"I proudly voted for the proposed legislation," said Congresswoman Grace Meng, a New York Democrat who is also a co-sponsor of the Malala Yousafzai Act.
The legislation seeks to increase the number of college scholarships for economically disadvantaged students from rural areas of Pakistan and aims to award 50% of them to females.
"I am extremely pleased to support this important programme and I look forward to the legislation being passed soon by the House," said Representative Meng.
"Everybody should have the opportunity to pursue a college education free from the fear of discrimination and violence, and this programme will help many students from Pakistan, especially Pakistani women, achieve that critical goal," she added.
The scholarships are administered by the US Agency for International Development through the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Programme.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teen-ager from the Swat Valley, was shot in the head by the Taliban for opposing the Taliban's ban on education for females. After her recovery, she became an activist for women's education.