Mariyam is the daughter of Haji Mohammad Eisa Durani. She is from the Durrani tribe. Maryam graduated from the American University of Afghanistan. She has a degree in business. She also studied law and political science. 
Mariyam was Kandahar people’s representative in the provincial council. She was director of Khadijatul Kubra women's association for culture. She was the owner of Merman Radio of Kandahar, a special women's radio. She started the Kandahar women's advocacy network. Maryam also started Malalai Maiwandi Internet cafe, a free women's internet cafe. It is a safe space for women to use the internet, and the first of its kind in Afghanistan. 
In 2012, Time Magazine chose Maryam as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". According to Time, "As the owner and operator of a radio station (Merman Radio) that focuses on women's issues and as a member of the Kandahar provincial council, Durani stands up for the region's women with remarkable bravery."
- "Maryam Durani". Time Magazine. Apr 18, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "American Women for International Understanding is pleased to Honor the US Secretary of State's International Women of Courage with an event each March". American Women for International Understanding. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "Maryam Durani among "The 100 Most Influential People in the World"". Afghanistan Journalists Center. April 19, 2012. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "Embassy Hosts Maryam Durani for Lunch". Embassy of Afghanistan. March 9, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- Staff (March 5, 2012). [http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/programs/iwoc/2012/bio/index.htm "2012 International Women of Courage Award Winners"Office of Global Women's Issues of the U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
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