These young women are changing the game and some of them haven’t even finished school yet! As always on Skool Girl Online we like to shout about NOT YOUR AVERAGE GIRLS who are creating effective social change in the world but don’t always get the recognition or platform they deserve. BE INSPIRED!
June Eric-Udorie, 18
Occupation:Writer / Feminist campaigner / Blogger
This 18-year-old is already leaving her legacy in the world of education as she ran a petition and managed to get the study of feminism added to the A-level politics curriculum in the UK. She is a member of Plan UK’s Youth Advisory Panel and FGM Ambassador for Plan UK with whom she campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation.
And if that wasn’t enough in her accolades basket…June is also is the Young Press Officer for Integrate Bristol, nominated for: The Smart Women of the year award by Red magazine in 2015, the Young Commentariat of the Year in 2015, the Words By Women Award in 2015, the PRECIOUS Awards for Leadership and in 2016, the BBC included her in the list of 100 Women for “inspirational and influential women for 2016.” Please stand up.
Liv Little, 23
Occupation:Founder and Editor-In-Chief of gal-dem
Born in South-London, Olivia Little is a First Class Honours graduate of Politics and Sociology at the University of Bristol. She founded gal-dem online magazine for women of colour whilst at university and frustrated with the lack of its diversity. The gal-dem team consists of over 70 women of colour, most of whom are based in the UK but with others in countries around the world who write about intersectionality, asylum and women’s rights.
In 2016, to celebrate their first birthday the magazine produced its first print edition and ran a Friday Late session at the V&A Museum which featured an all-female line up. in 2016, the BBC included her in the list of 100 Women for“inspirational and influential women for 2016.”Y’all better recognise!
Zulaikha Patel, 13
Born in South Africa Zulaikha became a symbol of the fight against Pretoria Girls High School’s policy regarding black girls’ hair. She and her classmates held a demonstration that led to not only a change in school policy, but also an inquiry into allegations of racism at the school. She is quoted as saying: “Asking me to change my hair is like asking me to erase my blackness.”
Teachers had told the students that their afro hair is “exotic”and needed to be tamed. It was implied that girls’ hair needed to be straightened or tied back, not worn as afros. Zulaikha Patel was among the students who led a demonstration against Pretoria Girls High, against the all girl school’s hair policy. The demonstrating teenagers were threatened with arrest as Zulaikha Patel led the silent protest. A video posted online showed Zulaikha Patel’s calm defiance as she faced three armed security guards who were hired by the school management to break up the demonstration. This video caused a large backlash against the school. Zulaikha Patel’s actions inspired other protests in South Africa, at Lawson Brown High School in the Eastern Cape, and St. Michael’s School for Girls in Bloemfontein where parents marched as well.
People worldwide began sharing pictures of their own afros on social media, in solidarity with the female students of Pretoria High School. The protests showed that racial divisions persist, despite the 1991 end of apartheid. With an online petition of almost 25,000 signatures within a day, the Gauteng Department of Education suspended the hair policy. Pen, paper…Take note!
Winnie Harlow, 22
If you have never heard of Winnie Harlow, please get to know one of the world’s most high profile and recognisable models, and the first to succeed in the fashion industry with the skin condition vitiligo. Also a spokesperson activist, Winnie gained prominence as a contestant on the twenty-first cycle of the US television series America’s Next Top Model and is the current brand ambassador for the Barcelona-based casual clothing brand Desigual.
Throughout childhood, Winnie was a victim of bullying and verbal harassment which led to her changing schools numerous times, dropping out of high school and contemplating suicide. Today she’s role-model and spokesperson for the likes of Dove’s Self-Esteem Project and has featured in multiple music video’s for JMSN, Eminem and Beyonce’ (just to name a few).Sips tea.
Dina Asher-Smith, 21
Occupation: Olympic Athlete
How on earth do you become the fastest British woman in history? Ask Dina, she did it at 19.
Dina Asher-Smith currently holds British records in the 60m, 100m, 200m and 4x100m…And if that wasn’t enough her achievements also include British Junior records in the 100m and 200m as well as the European Junior Indoor record in the 200m.
In her teen’s she was the world’s fastest teenager ever over 60m and 200m. Aged 13 she ran a world best time for 300m and in 2011 she gained her first international title in the 200m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man, and then went on to win the 2013 European Junior 200m and 4x100m in Rieti. In 2014 she became the IAAF World Junior 100m Champion in Eugene.
In 2013, aged 17, Dina was the youngest athlete on the British team for the IAAF World T&F Championships in Moscow. Here she won bronze as part of the 4x100m team, becoming the youngest ever-female World Championship relay medalist. In 2015 she won her first British senior title running for 60m gold in Sheffield going onto win silver at the European Indoor Championships in Prague; becoming the fastest teenager of all time over the distance. In the summer of 2015 she rewrote British sprinting history first breaking the British 100m record in London and then the British 200m and 4x100m records at the World Championships in Beijing. TAKE A BOW GIRL!
Simone Biles, 19
The list would not have been complete without the one they call ‘the best gymnast in the world’…Did we mention she’s 19?
Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast having won a combined total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. At the Rio Olympics 2016, she became the sixth woman to have won an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. With four Olympic gold medals, Simone set an American record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games.
Adopted and raised by her grandparents, Simone first tried gymnastics at 6 years old and clearly her years of dedication and hard work has paid off. SLAY! SLAY! SLAAAY!