Every child has the potential to achieve astounding things. But for girls everywhere, that potential is cut short by discrimination and inequality.
This International Day of the Girl, we’re looking to activists who have faced these hurdles and overcome them. We asked gender equality activists what they would say to their younger selves. Their words of advice and encouragement are sure to empower anyone in the fight for equality.
Here are six powerful quotes to inspire the next generation of activists:
“Find your identity, your true self and live your mission … Your power is your radical self. Find it.” — Aya Chebbi
Aya Chebbi is a pan-African feminist and world-renowned blogger. She’s passionate about empowering youth to fight for change, which she does as an African Union Youth Envoy. She’s also the founder of the Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring (Y-PHEM), Afrika Youth Movement (AYM), and Afresist, a youth leadership program.
Earlier this year, she took her skills to the Women7 Summit in Paris to advocate for women and girls on the global stage. She shared her thoughts on the only way we can fight injustice.
“If you believe in your idea of change and are willing to work hard, sooner or later that dream will be a reality.” — Naomi Tulay Solanke
Naomi Tulay Solanke is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Health Initiative, which provides reusable and affordable health products for women and girls. She also launched PADS4GIRLS, which trains women to produce sanitary pads. Both of these programs aim to empower girls to take control of their reproductive and menstrual health.
Naomi explains the importance of menstrual health in this inspiring TEDTalk:
“An undying spirit is the primary source of help because it is within you.” — Fridah Githuku
Fridah Githuku is the Executive Director of GROOTS Kenya, a national grassroots movement, which gives women visibility and decision-making power in their communities. GROOTS has invested in nearly 3,500 women-led groups across Kenya, sparking local, human-led change. Fridah is passionate about the role of land rights in achieving gender equality, which she advocates for as a partner with Equal Measures 2030.
Fridah’s work led to her being named one of our Women of the Year in 2018!
“Being a young African girl is not a hurdle to overcome, but a force to be reckoned with.” — Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa
Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa is an accomplished HIV/AIDS advocate and founder of the Young Beninese Leaders Association. This youth and women-led program has trained more than 3,000 girls and women on sexual and reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is also a “Goalkeeper for the Goals” for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa was also one of our 2018 Women of the Year for her outstanding work on women’s health.
“You will often feel as if you don’t fit, but it has never been your destiny to fit in. You were born to stand out.” — Melene Rossouw
Melene Rossouw is an Attorney in the High Court of South Africa. She is also the founder of the Women Lead Movement, where she runs seminars to teach women about human rights, leadership, campaigning, and democratic power. She wants to empower women as leaders for change in their communities and hold governments accountable to protect and secure women’s rights.
Back in March, Melene met with comedian and best-selling novelist Phoebe Robinson to talk about her work. You can find the entire Q&A on our Instagram.
“Life doesn’t always give us what we deserve, but rather, what we demand. And so you must continue to push harder than any other person in the room.” — Wadi Ben-Hirki
At 17 years old, Wadi Ben-Hirki founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation, which seeks to impact marginalised communities through humanitarianism and activism, particularly in Northern Nigeria. She also serves on the African Leadership Institute Youth Advisory Board and was the special guest from Africa at the 2018 Y20 Summit.
On top of all that, she’s a ONE Champion! Earlier this year, she and other ONE Champions met with Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo to demand a better future for Nigeria’s youths.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the trailer for our new docu-series, Yours in Power, premiering on October 29!