From campaigning against climate change to supporting children whose parents are at risk of deportation, these young women are making a change.
“I have so much admiration for girls who are playing a part in their communities or standing up for issues that they really believe in,” says Stylist’s special guest editor Adwoa Aboah.
With that in mind, we set out to celebrate teenage girls from across the globe who are using their voices and talents to make a difference.
Greta Thunberg, Sweden
The 16-year-old schoolgirl who founded the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The mass school walkouts have seen hundreds of thousands of young people take to the streets to protest climate change in 1,659 towns and cities in 105 countries, which started with Greta Thunberg’s solo protest in Sweden last August.
Thunberg began skipping school on Fridays to protest outside Swedish parliament and her Youth Strike 4 Climate movement has become a unifying campaign for many young activists. The teen eloquently addressed world leaders in a speech at the UN Climate Summit late last year and has since been rousing the crowds at rallies across Europe.
“We are striking because we have done our homework and they [the politicians] have not,” said Thunberg, whose commitment could lead a generation to save the planet.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen, Indonesia
Aged just 10 and 12, sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen set up movement Bye Bye Plastic Bags to reduce plastic waste in Bali, with Indonesia accounting for 10% of marine plastic pollution.
Now aged 16 and 18, their influential organisation has teams in 25 countries. They’ve given out more than 16,000 alternative bags, spoken at the UN’s World Oceans Day and organised Bali’s biggest ever beach clean with 12,000 volunteers.
Bali’s government banned plastic shopping bags last year and announced a 2019 initiative for a 70% decrease in all single-use plastic.
Jody Bell, USA
An American high-school student has created an online resource to help US-born children and teens whose immigrant parents or guardians may be at risk of deportation.
After witnessing first-hand the concerns of her classmates, 16-year-old Jody Bell created the website In Case Of Deportation to help prepare youths for abrupt detainment and deportations.
Aimed at eight-to 18-year-olds, it explains what deportation is, what your options are if a parent is deported, and practical advice such as having house keys, access to medical records and details of where to find legal and financial help. Sad necessities.
Kate McIntosh, New Zealand
Thirteen-year-old water polo player Kate McIntosh created a multisensory whistle after her deaf teammate was removed from a game after not hearing the referee.
When blown, the e-Whistle signals the athlete through a flashing light and vibration from a wristband.
Green Police, India
A group of girls in India’s Nagaon district have taken it upon themselves to care for the polluted river that runs past their school.
The ‘Green Police’ have grown to a 150-strong environmental brigade who have campaigned door-to-door and cleaned vast stretches of the Kolong river, while also collecting samples and monitoring cleanliness.
We’re celebrating Stylist’s 10th birthday in 2019 – and to honour the occasion, we’ve asked 10 of our favourite women to guest edit an issue of the magazine. Adwoa Aboah is our second star guest editor; see everything from her special issue here.