In honor of International Women’s Day this year, I am carefully avoiding my soapbox about the tragic, criminal state of women’s rights in the US and abroad. Instead, I’m acknowledging some badass young women who are reaffirming my faith in female power and doing their part to change the world.
HER EXCELLENCY SHAMMA BINT SUHAIL FARIS AL MAZURI
Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui In 2016, at just 22 years old, she was appointed Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the United Arab Emirates. According to the Los Angeles Times, she is believed to be the youngest government minister in the world and her role is to create pathways for young people to have more engagement with government and within society. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University Abu Dhabi and a master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford, which she attended as her country’s first Rhodes Scholar.
In 2012, Malala Yousafzaiwas shot by the Taliban after publicly speaking out about her fight to protect girls’ education. After surviving the attack, she went on to share her story around the world and launched the Malala Fund in 2013 with her father to raise awareness. In 2014, she became the youngest Nobel Laureate ever after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2020, she graduated from Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Sophia Kianni is an Iranian-American climate activist, Stanford University student and executive director of @ClimateCardinals, an international non-profit with over 8,000 volunteers in 40+ countries working on translating climate information into over 100 languages. She represents the US as the youngest member of the inaugural United Nations Youth Advisory Group on climate change.
You’ve probably already heard of Gretta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist who challenged world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation, starting a global, coordinated multi-city protest. In 2018, she spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and further activism resulted in her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. In 2019, she was named Time’s person of the year and in Time’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. Despite facing criticism and severe opposition, she continues to advocate for climate change.
Olivia Julianna, a Texas abortion rights advocate and strategist is the Director of Politics & Government Affairs for Gen Z for Change. She uses social media to encourage civic engagement and identifies as Queer, Plus Size. In July 2022, US Republican Congressman Matt Goetz tweeted criticism directed at Julianna and made public body shaming comments which she used to her advantage, rallying her Twitter supporters who donated over $2.2 million to the Gen-Z for Choice Abortion Fund.
May these strong, accomplished, badass women motivate and inspire you today and every day to be the best version of yourself.