Let’s just lay down the facts – women are f*cking phenomenal. Women having been pushing barriers since humanity began and pushing for progress in all fields. In a current era of uncertainty, now is the time to celebrate people breaking barriers and shaping the future (especially the voices that are less heard!) Below are some of the female faces of the future to look out for. There are many many many more inspirational young females, most of which will go unheard of, so keep the conversation going!
Note – This article is focusing on ‘young women’ however it’s important to acknowledge the achievements and importance of women at all ages.
At just 15 years old, Ugandan Leah Namugerwa is the type of young leader that the world needs to take note of. She is the voice of the generation of youth that will be most impacted by climate change. She has been campaigning across Uganda for environmental action (highlighting deforestation and flooding), joining the Fridays for Future movement and leading campaigns to ban plastic bags in Kampala.
The boss of American politics, the woman all Republicans love to hate – Congresswoman “Queen” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez representing New York’s 14th congressional district. She is the youngest women ever to serve in the United States Congress, pushed out a safe seat, and before serving in government, was working as a waitress and bartender (which the Republicans love to chastise her about.
Since her election win, she has been shaking up American politics (we’ve all seen her video calling out corruption in politics) and has introduced The Green New Deal, focusing on dramatically reducing U.S. carbon emissions. She also unapologetically wears bright red lipstick and big hoop earrings to work. Yes Queen AOC.
This 11-year-old British skateboarder and surfer has been smashing sports goals since she was a child – competing this year for Great Britain in the Olympic skateboarding team! She became the youngest person ever to compete at the Vans US open in 2016 and recently designed a skateboard to raise over $17,000 for skate schools for underprivileged children. She told the BBC in 2018 that she wants to surf and skate forever, raise money for good causes and encourage other young women to push boundaries!
British model, writer, activist and reality TV star Talulah-Eve was the only transgender model to walk at London fashion week and is fighting to change the lack of representation for the transgender community. She was the first transgender contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model and writes for the Huffington Post on the site.
“The answer to change isn’t tokenism: casting one model from a marginalized group, or doing a one-off show that highlights a marginalized group. It’s by regularly championing diversity, by making it the norm.” – Talulah-Eve, Talulah-Eve Writes Open Letter About Transphobia and Tokenism in Fashion, TeenVogue (2018)
Young women have to fight a lot of criticism and stigma attached to their age and gender, especially in politics. Finland’s youngest Prime Minister Sanna Marin and the world’s youngest sitting prime minister is just 34 years old. Her coalition parties are also all led by young intelligent women. Sanna was raised by same-sex parents and is pushing for progressive policies. *Sigh* I wish I lived in Finland. I’m excited to see what Sanna Marin will achieve for her country.
Nina is a 24-year-old Indigenous woman leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She has been fighting for climate justice and indigenous rights since she was eight years old, both locally and globally. She has been actively involved in global conservation and environmental conferences including the Paris Climate Summit and founded ‘Hakhu Amazon Design’, to help indigenous women find sustainable income using their cultural heritage. In 2018, Nina Gualinga was awarded the WWF 2018 International President’s Youth award.
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These photos were taken during a protest in Quito, Ecuador where hundreds of indigenous women from six different nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon gathered to demand the government to stop the destruction of indigenous territories and violence against indigenous leaders. Together we put together a document called Mandato de las Mujeres Amazónicas with 22 demands, that we handed over to the president of Ecuador and all the ministers. I am full of emotions and feelings. I am sad to see how these women have to fight every day for basic human rights. Inspired by their strength and fearlessness. How they never give up. How they fight hundreds of battles and seem to carry the power of Mama Earth herself. I am still learning. Until the day of today, no action has been taken from the government to meet our demands. But as the women say: United we are stronger. Never give up!” Honoring international indigenous women’s day. ?: @scornejor #indigenouswomensday #indigenouswomen #amazonwomen #amazonrainforest #indigenous #ecuador #actforamazonia
“I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true.” – Ibtihaj Muhammad
Ibtihaj Muhammad has had a phenomenal career and impact and yet it feels like she’s only just begun. The Olympic medal winning fencer was the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing in 2016 for the U.S. Since then, she has been unstoppable in representing young Muslim women in and out of the sport. She recently announced a deal with “Barbie” to produce a doll wearing a hijab, she has a conscious fashion collection, has published a book and was named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2016.
Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
NASA astronauts who are leading the first-ever all-female spacewalk in 2019, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir trained closely together in a class of 50% women, leading the charge for more women to join NASA and other STEM fields. The pair build on the previous success of fellow NASA women; including African-American Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan who were vital to early spaceflight (the movie “Hidden Figures” was about them).
“In the past women haven’t always been at the table. It’s wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone has a role. That can lead in turn to increased chance for success. There are a lot of people who derive motivation from inspiring stories of people who look like them, and I think it’s an important story to tell.” – NASA, Friday’s All Women Spacewalk: The Basics (2019)
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Title image of Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Finland’s all-female coalition. Photo by ©Laura Kotila/Valtioneuvoston kanslia via Flickr.