In honor of International Women's Day, we're highlighting some of our very favorite rule breakers and change makers — activists who fight each day to make the world a better place. Fighting to ensure equal access to civil rights, education, and basic necessities like drinking water, and so much more, these young women inspire us to speak up for what's right.
Oh, and, all of these activists are all under 30.
At just 25 years old, Pakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai already has nearly 15 years of activism under her belt. At age 11, she was blogging anonymously for the BBC about her experience as a schoolgirl in Taliban-occupied Pakistan. At 15, she survived an assassination attempt, simply for speaking publicly about a girl's right to education. And, at 17, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since then, Malala has continued to champion the rights of women and girls. She continued her quest for an education when she attended the University of Oxford and graduated in 2020 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Mari Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint, is 15 years old. She's barely old enough to have her learner's permit, but she's already driving change, championing equal access to clean drinking water and raising awareness for issues suffered by underprivileged youth. At the 2022 People's Choice Awards, Lizzo invited her onstage with 16 other activists to share her "People's Champion" award.
Eli Erlick is an American writer and activist. At 15 years old, she co-founded Trans Student Educational Resources, an organization that champions the rights of trans and gender-nonconforming students to receive an education. Five years later, in 2015, she led a national effort to ensure that trans women could attend women's colleges.
Erlick is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz.
Amanda Gorman, the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate, explores themes of oppression, race, and feminism through poetry. Gorman, a Harvard graduate, grew up in Los Angeles, with her single mom, her older brother, and her twin sister. She overcame a childhood speech impediment to become the youngest-ever poet to speak at a presidential inauguration. In an interview on CBS This Morning, Gorman said singing the Hamilton song "Aaron Burr, Sir" was among her favorite ways to practice pronouncing R sounds.
In the activism space, it doesn't get much more straightforward than saving the world. Greta Thunberg, a 20 year old Swedish climate activist, travels the world imploring older generations to take responsibility for the future of the planet. Thunberg has spoken at UN Climate summits and organized climate strikes that began as tiny demonstrations and grew to mega-events drawing millions of attendees. She's also used her social media platforms to champion meaningful policy change to reduce carbon emissions and future-proof the Earth.