In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating young women who are making the world a kinder and braver place! Here are five changemakers who are leading their communities in powerful impact and creating substantial change:
Eva Marie Lewis
When she 16-years-old, Eva founded the Free Root Organization, which she says began as a blog: “I really wanted to celebrate different types of people and really tell different narratives.” Now a nonprofit, FRO seeks to combat poverty-induced gun violence by investing in the healing and empowerment of the Black and Brown communities in Chicago. Through educational resources and food-pairing programs, Eva has delivered customized grocery orders to more than 500 families and has raised thousands of dollars for her community.
Now in college, Eva continues to be a strong advocate for social justice issues such as intersectional feminism, anti-gun violence, and community justice. Amongst her many accolades, she has spoken at the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, was the recipient for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, and has even contributed to Teen Vogue.
The 18-year-old is blazing a path for Emirati women in the field of space exploration and scientific research. Born and raised in Dubai, Alia won the Genes in Space competition in 2017 when she designed an experiment that measured how exposure to space affects the health of live organisms at cellular level. Since then, she has advocated for women in STEM and space exploration. Currently a first-year student at the University of Edinburgh studying biological sciences, Alia dreams of becoming the first Emirati woman on Mars!
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As Alia continues to advocate in the science field, she said the best piece of advice she’s learned is the concept of trial and error: “As there is trial and error in the scientific method when creating a project, there will also be trial and error in our life choices. Sometimes a certain path that we thought would be the one for us ends up not being how we expected it to be or an unexpected situation happens and changes our perspectives, sometimes we need to fail and lose to gain and win knowledge and experience. When that happens, don’t worry too much about it, allow life to take its course and try different things in your life whether that would be a career, major, class, or hobby until you get what feels right for you.”
A disabilities advocate, Madison has written in publications including Teen Vogue, Vogue, Glamor Mag, and Allure about disability representation and how we can all build a more inclusive world. She even hosts the Gracie award-winning podcast The Obvious Question in which she takes on the assumptions and misconceptions others have about people with disabilities.
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Most recently, Madison wrote an article for Vogue Magazine entitled, “Why Disability Representation Is Crucial to Building a Better, More Inclusive Fashion Industry”: “I was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that causes progressive muscle loss throughout the body and, in some cases, leads to lung failure,” she wrote. “Throughout my life, fashion and beauty have been my happy place. I find normality in eclectic patterns and vibrant lipsticks that allow me to stand out and actually feel seen instead of stared at. Because, although I might catch someone’s attention initially because of my wheelchair, I tend to hold on to it because of my style. But, like most people with disabilities, when it comes to representation in the fashion and beauty industries, I have often felt excluded.”
An Indian-American inventor, Anushka is well-known for being the youngest person to win a top award in the Google Science Fair. Her project? “Smart Wound Care for the Future,” in which she designed a low-cost biocompatible sensor for wound management. (In laymen’s terms, she designed a sensor that allows caregivers to know when the wounds for bandages need to be changed.) Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for underrepresented minorities and women’s representation in STEM. Next fall, she heads to college to study engineering, but that’s only the beginning – eventually, she wants to start or work for a research and development company!
To girls who are looking to make a difference in the world, Anushka advised playing to one’s strengths and interests. “What are you passionate about? What either makes you excited to wake up in the morning, or makes you extremely irate? All movements and inventions started from unassuming ideas. The hardest part is starting! If you never try, you’ll never know what could have been.”
Check out Anushka’s Ted Talk on her invention here!
As the founder of Period Movement and most recently August, Nadya is changing the narrative around periods and menstrual products. The 23-year-old Harvard student advocates for inclusive talks around periods, has worked to end what is known as the tampon tax, and is also the author of Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction.
As she continues on her successful career path, Nadya shares some advice to her younger self: “I would tell my younger self to recognize that I am worthy because I am human — not because of the work that I do, the impact that I make, or things that I accomplish,” she said. “I think for so long I got wrapped up in my work and feeling empowered from it that I started to equate my worth with work. In the last year, I think I’ve really had to grapple with the fact that I need to feel worthy in my own being, even without work. I am worthy because I am human and I am a survivor. And I take that feeling of worth and abundance and let it fuel my work.”
If you know someone we should highlight on Channel Kindness, submit a story about them here!