This is the time of year we reflect on the many things we are thankful for. This year I am thankful for the amazing young women I read about every day who are doing their small part to make the world a better place.
Take a look at the list below for your own dose of inspiration.
1. Fighting for Girls Education
When you think about inspiring young women there is one that stands out from this year – Malala Yousufzai. The 14-year-old was shot and wounded by the Taliban in Pakistan while returning home from school on the bus.
The young girl is well known in the country for promoting education for girls. In 2009 she wrote a blog for the BBC about her life under Taliban rule and her views on the importance of education for girls. The next summer she was featured in a New York Times documentary about her life.
Yousufzai’s shooting has sparked an international movement for girls’ education.
You can sign a Care2 petition to nominate Yousafzai for the Nobel Peace Prize.
2. Fighting Gender Inequality
After discovering her favorite board game Guess Who had only 5 girl characters and a whopping 19 boy characters, this smart little 6-year-old decided to take action. With the help of her mother she wrote an email to the game’s creator Hasbro sharing her frustration:
It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown-ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won’t give little girls much care.
Also if girls want to be a girl in Guess Who they’ll always lose against a boy, and it will be harder for them to win. I am cross about that and if you don’t fix it soon, my mum could throw Guess Who out.
What a smart young lady – not only for recognizing the injustice but for taking action herself.
3. Girl Superheroes
Don’t try to trick this little girl into buying toys that are pink! She knows that girls can choose toys that are either pink or blue and that it’s OK for girls to like princesses or superheroes just like boys. Check out Riley’s epiphany at the toy store:
4. Fierce Football Female
Nine-year-old Samantha Gordon is the fastest player on her all-boys peewee football team. She has been nicknamed “Sweet Feet” by her team for her speed and agility on the field. The football star scored an impressive 35 touchdowns during her first season.
Speed isn’t her only skill. She can also tackle with the best of them and goes after some of the biggest players.
Her very proud father made a highlight reel of his daughter’s moves on the field which went viral with over 2 million views!
Historically chess has been a male dominated game, but girls at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois are changing the game.
The team’s best player this year, Aminah Garcia, has transformed the school’s team by encouraging other girls to try out the game. She joined the team as a freshman and was the only girl player. Now as a senior the 24 player team is split evenly between boys and girls.
The female energy on the team has led to 12 consecutive state titles. Here’s the hoping the school wins their 13th title this year.
6. Urine Powered Generator
14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and 15-year-old Bello Eniola aren’t your average teenage girls. These young ladies have invented a urine powered generator. One liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity.
The girls unveiled their invention at Maker Faire Africa, a yearly event that “shows off innovations, inventions, and initiatives that solve immediate challenges and problems, and then works to support and propagate them.”
Hopefully these girls will get some support for their incredible project.
7. Playing Historical Dress-Up
When this 8-year-old girl gets ready every day she might have trouble choosing what to wear, but not for the reasons you think.
Stella Ehrhar wakes up every morning and dresses like a notable female historical figure. Her book 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century gives her lots of great ideas. She has dressed up as a different woman every day for 365 days!
Some of Ehrhar’s costumes include Rosa Parks, Billie Holiday, Georgia O’Keeffe and Queen Elizabeth. Teachers at her school have said that her costumes have prompted many classroom discussions, copycatting and further creativity.
What an amazing way to honor history’s inspirational women!
8. Saving Lives
After 15 children drowned in 6 months in their home town, a group of high school girls decided they would do something about it.
The girls from the Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona developed a t-shirt that automatically inflates into a life vest when soaking wet. The t-shirt is for children 2-4 years old to wear while playing near a swimming pool.
The girls are among 16 teams that have been selected by the 2013 InvenTeamsProgram to receive up to $10,000 to develop their invention.
What an incredible way to encourage an interest in science, technology, engineering and math!
9. Curing Breast Cancer
Brittany Wenger of Sarasota, Florida is the recipient of this year’s Google Science Fair. Her winning project was a computer program that helps detect breast cancer using less invasive methods
The 17-year-old ran 7.6 million trials and spent more than 600 hours coding the computer program which she has been working on since 7th grade.
“I want to be on the frontier of cancer research, finding the cures that are going to save lives and doing things with computer science that can be the technologies of the future,” says Brittany. “I also want to be a pediatric oncologist, so I hope to intertwine my passions for research, computer science and patient care in the future.”
10. Future Political Correspondent
As Americans sat on the edge of their seats on Election Night waiting for the results, Sophia McCrimmon, a middle school student from Virginia, rested easy.
Well, Sophia already knew the results. She predicted that President Obama would win the election weeks before the first Presidential debate and take every state he won in 2008 with the exception of North Carolina and Indiana.
She was 100% right! What a politically savvy young woman!
Photo by rarye used under a Creative Commons license.