In the wake of the shooting, the teenager has come to symbolize a battle between freedom and oppression, violence and peace, a young generation and a group that is hell-bent on keeping Pakistan under the grip of Islamic extremism.
On her blog, Malala often wrote about her life in Swat Valley, a hotbed of militant activity.
The valley near the Afghanistan border once attracted tourists to Pakistan's only ski resort, as well as visitors to the ancient Buddhist ruins in the area. But that was before militants -- their faces covered -- unleashed a wave of violence in 2003.
They demanded veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls.
But young Malala defied the Taliban edict, demanding an education.
For that, she got a bullet to the head -- and the attention of much of the world.