By Elina Banerji
As our world faces financial, socioeconomic, environmental and stereotypical distress, it is vital that we have good leaders to pave the future. In the last decade, there has been a decrease in women advocacy, voice and influence. Now, more than ever it is vital for women to stand up for what is right, exercise their right to freedom of speech, and break the chain. The examples below of influential women in this day and age provide insights into the many benefits of standing up and conquering. If we all stand together, we as women will be unstoppable!
Winnie Harlow is an advocate and spokesperson for the skin condition “vitiligo”. Vitiligo is a skin condition causing depigmentation in skin colour and complexion. She was diagnosed when she was four years old, but she never let this get her down, she combatted the criticism she received and is now greatly successful. She models for many famous brands and icons, such as SKIMS by Kim Kardashian West, she has several social media accounts, and she is definitely a role model to young people, as she has never given up, and is now a spokesperson and powerful advocate for people just like her.
Malala Yousafzai was a young Pakistani girl, who just wanted to make something for herself and have a strong future, but she faced many challenges. The Taliban troops in Pakistan targeted women, and continue to enforce rules and regulations including no education for girls. Malala retaliated. She wrote an online blog under a different alias. She went on the news. And despite the regulations, she attended school, a school her dad set up for girls like her. One day, on the bus home from school, with some other girls, the bus was stopped. A Taliban leader asked for Malala. They had caught wind of what had been happening and shot her in the head. She was flown to England, where there was a better medical system, and soon over time got better. Now, she is an activist for gender equality and disparity, and she won’t rest until societal gender segregation is abolished, and a new regime of equality becomes the new norm.
Great Thunberg, who is only 18 years old, has taken more action to help save the planet than most people her age. Her advocacy work really urges people to cherish and do everything in their power to preserve and conserve our environment. She is vegan to save the lives of animals and chooses to travel by boat overseas to not emit fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. She has boycotted school to attend and host rallies and protests to promote better ecological practices to look after and repair the environment. She attended the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Summit and spoke before them, presenting them with the facts, urging them to take action, and sparking a global movement. Greta knows that if we as humans keep on living like we are in our materialistic world, the environment one day will cease to exist. She will not rest until the environment thrives.
As a high school senior, Emma survived the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and in response co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD. She wanted to change the gun laws in America, so other people wouldn’t have to go through the pain and horror she faced. In America, guns can be purchased over the counter at shops like Target, these guns can be obtained without a license or any type of permit. She has been an advocate since then for a change, a new era, one of safety and security, one without rampages and massacres, one with hope and freedom.
At the mere age of 6 years old, Jazz Jennings has been an activist for transgender children. She wanted to educate people about it to eliminate the harsh stereotypes associated with it. She felt a need to spread awareness, and help people find themselves. The LGBTQ activist and YouTube star has a TLC show called "I Am Jazz" and co-wrote a children's book by the same name. Now 17, she regularly speaks out about issues affecting the trans community.
Bana Alabed captured the hearts of many people with a series of tweets from inside the besieged city of Aleppo starting in 2016. She wanted to broaden consciousness and cognizance about the confronting issue that impacts millions of people today. She stimulated newfound interest in the topic, and more and more people are following after her and advocating for change.
These girls are some of many who have changed the world, sparked a revolution, commenced a new era, a new regime. But we can’t just rely on them for a better future. Let us stand together and be women of influence in this day and age, to create an equal future for all.