Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. The holiday was first celebrated in 1910, and is meant to commemorate the movement for women's rights.
While companies are honoring the occasion by making bold statements, and celebrating an array of groundbreaking women throughout history, we've decided to mark the holiday by listing off seven quotes from young people, who, while still under the age of 18, made headlines by pushing for change inside and outside of their communities. Though most of these fierce young women have spent less than two decades on this planet, they've already taken a stand for pivotal issues such as women's health, women's education, and more.
Take a look at our list of impactful quotes below, and prepare to be inspired!
1. “I don’t want to be thought of as the ‘girl who was shot by the Taliban,’ but the ‘girl who fought for education.’” – Malala Yousafzai
In her 20 years, Malala Yousafzai has uttered more quotable lines than people three times her age, but nothing better encapsulates what drives her and what she fights so valiantly for than the quote above. Even after being nearly killed by the Taliban in 2009, Yousafzai has remained dedicated to fighting for education for girls across the world. Back in January, she even partnered with Apple's Tim Cook to help make that dream a reality.
2. “You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you.” — Bana al-Abed
In 2016, Bana al-Abed, now 8, began tweeting from war-torn Aleppo, Syria, with help from her mother. Though al-Abed and her family now reside in Turkey, the youngster hasn't forgotten about besieged area she came from. In fact, as the fighting in Syria continues, al-Abed has repeatedly called on world leaders to take action. In 2017 she wrote a heartfelt plea to President Trump, and just last month she encouraged French President Emmanuel Macron to help the children of Syria.
3. “We are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again.” — Emma González
After the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida took the lives of 17 of her classmates and teachers, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma González became an outspoken gun control advocate. The above quote comes from an essay the teen wrote for Harper's Bazaar less than two weeks after the tragedy, and it captures why she and some of her classmates have devoted themselves to fighting for change.
4. “I dream of a world where every child lives happily and I will surely render my tiny contribution in this.” — Anoyara Khatun
Anoyara Khatun became a victim of human trafficking after her father died when she was five, and now, as a dedicated activist with Save the Children, she is determined to ensure other young people don't share the same fate. In addition to speaking out against child trafficking, Khatun, who is from West Bengal, has also worked diligently to eradicate child marriage and child labor.
5. “This is why I march: because my hometown has been without clean water for almost 1,000 days. Clean water is a human right for everybody.” — Amariyanna Copeny
Ten-year-old Amariyanna "Mari" Copeny — AKA "Little Miss Flint" — wrote then-President Obama a letter in 2016 regarding the water crisis in her hometown, and that powerful missive earned her an "aww-worthy" meeting with the Commander-In-Chief. However, even after the fanfare around that encounter died down, Copeny remained dedicated to raising awareness about the problem in Flint, which remains unresolved nearly four years later. In 2017, Copeny was the Women's March on Washington's youngest youth ambassador, and the quote above came from a video she posted on Twitter prior to the event.
6. “This will impact both me and future generations.” — Ridhima Pandey
Like many others on this list, young Ridhima Pandey is working tirelessly to improve the lives of others. For Pandey, that means taking the Indian government to task after it failed to combat climate change as promised in its ratification of the Paris Agreement, as well as other environmental laws dating back to the 1980s. Seeing as climate change is an issue that will impact future generations, Pandey actually sued her government and demanded it protect the country's "most vulnerable."
7. “Girls from my home have their future lost or destroyed. This is something I can’t accept.” — Omaima Hoshan
Omaima Hoshan is a Syrian refugee who is known for fighting child marriage from her refugee camp in Jordan. With the limited resources she has, Hoshan managed to run workshops to discourage child marriage and has encouraged young girls to stay in school instead.
Cover image via Karl_Sonnenberg / Shutterstock.com.