When there are so many things wrong in the world (like this, this, or this), it’s nice when you come across some good news. Take for example the following 10 girls who are shattering gender stereotypes and doing some amazing things, like discovering dinosaur remains, bench pressing 240 pounds or starting their own businesses.
Prepare to be amazed!
1. Speed Reader
When was the last time you read a book? How about 300 books?
Well 12-year-old Neveah Mosher from the South Bronx challenges herself to read 300 books every year. Last year she read 325 “thick chapter books.”
“To be able to read is the most wonderful thing ever,” says Neveah. “When you are reading it’s like you are in another world and you are seeing something from someone else’s eyes.”
Neveah hopes to be the first in her family to go to college.
“The most important thing that I need to do to accomplish my dreams is to get to college…I believe I can accomplish anything as long as I believe I can do it.”
For a girl so young, Neveah is wise beyond her years. Maybe it’s all that reading.
Take a look at Neveah’s story below:
2. Future Paleontologist
When 5-year-old Daisy Morris went on vacation with her family, she came across the discovery of a lifetime. On a walk on Isle of Wight beach, the young girl found the remains of a fossil that was discovered to be a new specimen of dinosaur species. When it came time to name the dinosaur, scientists decided on Vectidraco Daisymorrisae in honor of its young founder.
Since her grand discovery, Daisy has become fascinated by science, a discipline often hailed more suitable for boys. She has a large collection of fossils and relics, making her bedroom more of a museum of sorts. Her parents are very proud of their daughter and encourage her to pursue her love of science.
3. Chess Prodigy
Sixteen-year-old Phiona Mutes is from one of the poorest cities in the world: Katwe, Uganda. Her father died of AIDS when she was only 3-years-old, and her mother cannot read or write. Finding food to survive was a daily struggle, until a program to teach kids how to play chess saved her life.
Phiona would walk four miles a day to practice chess and get the bowl of porridge that accompanied her lessons. It quickly became clear that she had a knack for the game and eventually became her country’s chess champion, competing in international tournaments despite criticism that chess was a “white man’s game.” To learn more about Phiona’s extraordinary story, pick up a copy of “The Queen of Katwe,” which will soon make it to the big screen in a Disney production.
Maryana Naumova is a very strong 13-year-old girl. In fact, just last year she became the youngest girl ever to bench press 154 pounds. This year she broke her record by lifting 220 pounds, followed by 230 pounds and finally finishing at 240 pounds.
Check out a video of Maryana doing her thing at the Arnold Classic Bodybuilding competition.
5. Football Star
When 11-year-old Caroline Pla was prohibited from playing football with the boys in her city’s Roman Catholic youth league, thousands upon thousands came to rally on her behalf. She even appeared on the show “Ellen.” The Archdiocese of Philadelphia must have felt the pressure because it eventually reversed its decision.
Caroline was thrilled, as were her parents. Her mother said the following about the decision: “For Caroline, this was never about just her, but about all girls who want to play the sports they love. It was about allowing kids like Caroline the opportunity to grow physically and spiritually.”
6. Future Game Programmer
Programming and computer science have long been considered a boys club, but don’t tell that to 7-year-old Zora Ball. The first grader was recently named the world’s youngest game programmer after creating a mobile application video game.
Zora attends the Science and Technology Charter School in Philadelphia. She learned how to be a master of Bootstrap programming during a Saturday 48-week program called the STEMnasium Learning Academy.
7. Cycling Prodigy
When Salma Kakar, 16-years-old, and her dozen girlfriends ride their bikes through the streets, people do a double-take.
Well in Afghanistan it is rare to see a woman riding a bike, but that is all changing with the emergence of the Afghan National Cycling Team, which Salma is the leader of.
“We are changing minds,” says Salma. One day, she hopes “to wave the flag of Afghanistan in the Olympics, to prove to the world that women in Afghanistan have progressed.” I hope to see that one day, too.
8. Lego Girl
Now for our tiniest inspiring young girl: 3-year-old Cecilia who has been taking her female lego heads and pairing them with male bodies and accessories.
The result: “badass lego girls,” or as she calls them her “superhero girls.”
Perhaps Lego should consider hiring Cecilia to create some other empowering girl legos like their recently added female scientist.
9. Seventeen Cover Girl
This year’s winner of Seventeen Magazine’s Pretty Amazing contest is 20-year-old Stacey Ferreira.
Why is Stacey “pretty amazing”?
Well, she is the owner of an internet based multi-million dollar business and soon to be author of a book called 2 Billion Under 20. The book will recount stories and experiences from inspirational teens who are trying to change the world. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy when it’s out. (Or better yet, maybe they are looking for an editor. Stacey call me maybe?)
Sushma Verma finished high school when she was 7-years-old and earned her undergraduate degree at 13. Sushma lives in India where many children are unable to get an education, but her family made it their priority.
Well the young scholar wanted to go right to medical school, but she needs to be 18-years-old to take the qualifying tests. In the meantime, she will be pursuing a master’s in microbiology.
If reading about all these amazing young girls didn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
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Photo Credit: Afghanistan Matters