You might have seen the viral ‘Like A Girl’ video and campaign recently – and if you haven’t, stop what you are doing and google it right now! Basically, it calls into question some pretty disempowering phrases about girls that have become cemented in our communication – ‘throw like a girl’, ‘run like a girl’, ‘hit like a girl’ etc. There’s been this undercurrent of thought in our history that girls are somehow weaker than boys – not as good at sport and maths and science. But it’s time for those stereotypical thoughts to end. Because, as these following girls will show you, they are so, SO wrong. Here are 7 inspiring school girls – a handful of many – who are ahead of the game and creating amazing change in the world. 7 inspiring reasons as to why being ‘like a girl’ is HUGE compliment.
1) Mo’Ne Davis (Age 13)
In 2014, Mo’Ne became the first African-American girl to play in the Little League Baseball World Series. She also became the first girl ever to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history – winning the game by a landslide for her team. In a later commercial for Chevrolet, and in response to those who said a girl had no place in the Little League, Mo’Ne reminded the world of the power of girls – “I throw 70 miles per hour. That’s throwing like a girl”. She has since released a line of sneakers for girls in conjunction with M4D3 (Make A Difference Everyday), which aims to help lift four million girls in the developing world out of poverty.
2) Malala Yousafzai (Age 17)
It’s no secret that when it comes to women and girls education, Malala is a bit of a rock star. Prior to being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at just 17, she advocated for the right to an education for women in northwest Pakistan – a region where the local Taliban had banned girls from attending schools. Her survival after the subsequent attack by the Taliban led Malala to international fame, and in 2013 she was named by Time Magazine one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’.
3) Zhan Haite (Age 15)
When Zhan was denied the right to attend high school in China, she didn’t take it lying down. The daughter of a migrant, Zhan did not hold the necessary Shanghai household registration, and as such, the local government was not required to provide her with a secondary education. Establishing a campaign on Weibo (an exclusively Chinese equivalent of Twitter), Zhan organized a protest in front of the Shanghai Bureau of Education. Her campaign was so successful that she was allowed to pen a column in the China Daily Newspaper regarding the changing of education laws.
4) Cassandra Lin (Age 16)
At 10 years old, Cassandra learned about one of the greatest issues facing her generation – Climate Change. Throughout her adolescence, she worked with her friends and local community to create Project TGIF – Turn Grease Into Fuel. This project engaged local businesses such as restaurants and food factories by asking them to donate their unused grease output to TGIF, and in turn, TGIF would convert this grease into biodiesel – which could be used to heat the homes of needy families. The project has since donated nearly 80,000 Litres of BioHeat, and has heated 210 homes
5, 6, 7) Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow & Ciara Judge (Age 17)
This amazing trio won the Grand Prize at the Google Science Fair in 2014, with their project that analyzed the use of natural bacteria to increase crop growth and output. They first started their work when they learned about the world food crisis in school, and 16 year old Émer noticed the fastest growing pea plants in her mother’s garden had small nodules on their roots. They conducted small and large-scale experiments to test their hypothesis, which yielded incredible results. Now in their final year of schooling, they are working on ways to commercialize their technology to combat famine and food shortages in developing countries.