According to Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, the number six method of reversing climate change is educating girls. Number. Six. That is higher in the list than composting, afforestation, and solar farms (and rooves). Educating children, girls especially is extremely important worldwide, but, because it is taken for granted in our culture, we often don’t think about it anywhere else. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned in school was about ten years ago, I had a teacher tell the entire class to not take our education for granted because there are some kids who can’t even get one. There are girls out in the world getting stripped of a more positive future because they are getting married and are forced to work at extremely young ages. Some girls can’t go to school because they don’t have the things they need while on their period in order to go to school. The women I have chosen for this post fight for education for these girls and many other children because these children are the future of our world.
First up, Malala Yousefzai. Most people know about her and if you don’t I am absolutely shocked and you should go read her book (I Am Malala) ASAP. She was born in 1997 in Pakistan and her father, a teacher at a girl’s school, made sure Malala got the education she deserved. Fast forward to 2008 when the Taliban took control over her town and banned education for girls. Against the Taliban’s demands, she continued to get her education and spoke out publically on behalf of the girls being stripped of their education. In 2012, a masked gunman boarded her bus on the way home from school, asked for her by name, and shot her in the left side of the head. She woke up ten days later in a hospital in England and was informed about the incident. Once she recovered, she rejoined her family in her new home in the U.K. She knew she could not keep quiet. Malala continued to be an activist and to speak out for girl’s education to ensure that every girl had the opportunity to go to school and get an education. She became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 2014 at just seventeen years old. Currently, she attends Oxford University and is studying philosophy, politics, and economics, all while continuing to advocate for girls’ rights to a safe and quality education. She created the Malala Fund with a mission to “help every girl learn and lead” and donations support girl’s secondary education projects all around the world.
Zuriel Oduwole is a young filmmaker born in the U.S. who won a contest to do a documentary in Ghana. She was nine years old at the time. While she was there she was surprised by the number of girls who weren’t in school and decided to do something about it. In 2013, she ceated a campaign called Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up (DUSUSU) which promoted and advocated for girl’s education in Africa. DUSUSU encourages girls to stay in school and get the best education they possibly can, shows parents what a difference it can make by educating their daughters and why it is so important, and it encourages leaders to advocate for children’s development. She uses herself as an example of the power of educating girls to show what they can do, even at such young ages. She created a number of films including A Promising Africa in 2104 and was named the most powerful 11 year old by New York Business Insider’s and was the youngest person to have been profiled on Forbes. She has been invited to speak at numerous events and panels in fourteen countries which include (but most certainly are not limited to) South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, England and Mexico. But not only is she a film maker and and advocate for girls’ education, she also advocates for climate change. She knows how detrimental climate change is to education. She spoke to several Prime ministers and Presidents all over the world informing them about the dangers climate change has on education. She is currently only about seventeen years old and a senior in high school and has already done so much. Personally, I can’t wait to keep up with her and all the amazing work she does.
“Sick of reading about white boys and dogs”, Marley Davis changed what young kids read all across America and the world at the age of eleven. She said she was tired of having to read all of these books without any representation of her as a main character. So, to change that, she created the book drive #1000BlackGirlBooks in 2015 in order to bring more attention to literature featuring black female protagonists, not as minor or background characters. Her goal, as you could tell from the hashtag was to collect 1000 books… she ended up collecting over 9,ooo books. She comes from Jamaican descent and a large portion of the books collected were sent to a book drive there. This campaign spread all over the world but her advocacy did not end there. She published her own book called Marley Gets It Done: And So Can You! as a way to show children all over the world that their dreams can come true. She loves the creative liberty that comes with writing (and as a blogger, I 100% agree with her) and is the youngest editor for Elle.com as well. Her advocacy helped bring about the diversity in education all over the world. In 2017, she won the Smithsonian Magazine’s Ingenuity Award in the Youth category, she is on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, and she won the Peggy Charren Free to Be You and Me Award at the age of 13 years old and her acceptance speech is very empowering (you can watch it here to see what I mean).
If you noticed, each of these young women are advocates for education in various ways and the oldest one of them is 21. My past few post have shown women who are much older and who one would normally think of as an advocate. But this post is just one example that your age does not limit your voice in the world. Education should be available to all and should not be taken away or unavailable to anyone. The work these young women do is incredile and extremly necessary. I not only encourage you to help them on their endeavors but I also encourage you to advocate for any and everything you stand for becasue change won’t happen if you don’t speak up.
In the comments below, tell me who inspires you, what projects and movements mean something to you, and what you do or hope to do in the future in order to help these causes. Also share this and the other posts to the young women in your life as a way to encourage them to fight for what they believe in.