Posted: 11 October 2019

International Day of the Girl 2019: Four inspiring girls

Dealing with stereotypes is a part of daily life for most young women. That's why the theme for this year's International Day of the Girl   Girlforce: Unscripted and Unstoppable – focuses on girls who are defying gender expectations.

But many girls are doing inspirational things in spite of the barriers posed by stereotypes. Krysstina, a 17-year-old, told us about four young females who are challenging conventions and inspiring young women like her.

Four young women defying stereotypes

I wanted to pick individuals who have taken initiative, courage and extreme dedication to achieve great things for the benefit of others, and haven’t let obstacles such as their age interfere with their success.

'Although I admire their individual projects and endeavours, it is their shared ability to defy odds and gain public support that I most admire.'

1. Mari Copeny

When she was eight years old, Mari Copeny, aka ‘Little Miss Flint’, wrote to President Barack Obama. Her home city of Flint was in the midst of a water crisis: residents had been exposed to contaminated water that was poisoning the community and had killed 12 people.

Obama responded to Mari, visiting Flint and later allocating $100 million to help repair the city’s water system.

Mari has continued to focus on her activism, handing out hundreds of thousands of water bottles to families, becoming a Women’s March Youth Ambassador, and donating backpacks and school supplies to children in Flint.

2. Safiyyah Syeed

Muslim teenager Safiyyah Syeed gained international attention when she entered a boxing competition wearing a hijab.

The 18-year-old from Bradford began boxing a year ago after suffering from anorexia and bulimia. While she was bed-ridden she wrote a bucket list, which included becoming a boxer.

Restrictions on wearing a hijab while boxing competitively have been an issue that prevented opportunities for female Muslim boxers in the past. But now Safiyyah wants to be one of the first Muslim women to compete nationally and hopes to take her boxing to the Olympics one day.

3. Greta Thunberg

The now 16-year-old launched the school strike movement in 2018 to protest a lack of government action around climate change.

She began protesting outside the Swedish parliament and since then more than one million students have joined her in an expression of global unity for her cause. Now, the oil and gas industry has said it is ‘listening’ to the young activist.

4. Amika George

Amika George is an 18-year-old student and founder of #FreePeriods: a campaign that aims to make sure that no girl in the UK is suffering from period poverty. It calls on the Government to provide free menstrual products to all children on free school meals.

Amika’s petition was signed by over 165,000 people and thousands protested in support outside Downing Street. Thanks in no small part to the movement Amika started, the Government recently announced a free sanitary product scheme for girls in secondary schools and colleges in a bid to combat period poverty.

Who is the girl currently inspiring you? Tell us on Facebook and share this list.

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