She studied international relations at the University of Westminster and completed her post-graduate studies at the London School of Economics.
In 2012 Pavey was honored by the United States Department of State with the International Women of Courage Award. In 1996, Pavey lost her left arm and left leg in a train accident in Zurich. One year later, she went to London to pursue her education.
Pavey served in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, being responsible for external relations and humanitarian aid in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Syria.
She worked as the spokesperson of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Central Europe in Hungary and later as the head of human rights treaty body secretariat at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was a columnist for the Istanbul based Armenian-Turkish bilingual weekly Agos, and has authored three books
She carried out joint projects with Harvard University, the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Norwegian Design Council on inclusive/universal design and displaced persons. The book 13 Numarali Peron (Platform Number 13) narrating the train accident experience, written jointly by her mother Ayşe Önal and Pavey herself, became a best-seller in Turkey.
After fifteen years living abroad, Pavey returned to Turkey in 2011 and ran for a parliament seat.
She was subsequently appointed as one of the CHP"s deputy chairpersons, responsible for environmental and social policy.
She is a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly from the main opposition Republican People"s Party (CHP) representing Istanbul Province. She is the first disabled woman ever elected to the Turkish parliament, and is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She left her position at the United Nations in 2012 and was elected as Deputy of Istanbul Province for the Republican People"s Party, becoming the first disabled female member of the Turkish Parliament.
As part of her parliamentary work, she is a member of the Turkey-European Union-Accession Committee, the European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, the Euro-Medical Parliamentary Assembly for the Mediterranean Union, the Euro-Medical Sub-Committee on Energy, Water and Environment, and Vice-Chair and Member of the Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Groups with South of Korea and Norway.