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12 Young Women Who Are Building a Better World

Happy International Womens Day! Today, we’re taking a look back at some of the fierce, dedicated, and inspirational women we’ve covered who aren’t just changing the world – they’re building a better one for the next generation of girls.

Alena McQuarter was in 5th grade when her principal told her that girls of color couldn't get good grades or pass state tests.

How did she respond?

She graduated high school at 12, became NASA's youngest intern ever, and graduated college at 15.

This is Dr. Jess Wade.

She wanted to encourage young girls to pursue careers in STEM, so she started writing Wikipedia biographies of female scientists who weren't being written about. So far, she's written more than 1,600 biographies.

When Dasia Taylor was 17, she invented a new type of suture that changes color to show if a wound is infected. Now, three years later, she's the CEO of her own company, focused on inclusive medical devices

This is Collette Divitto.

For years, she was rejected for jobs because she has Down Syndrome. Instead of letting it stop her, she never gave up. Today, she runs her own bakery and employs 15+ people.

The best part?

Most of them have disabilities, too.

In 2022, Jessica Watkins became the first Black woman to join the crew of the International Space Station. Also on her list of accomplishments:

- Studied at Stanford

- Earned a PhD

- Played international rugby

- Became an aquanaut

This is Ella Lambert.

She started the Pachamama Project when she was 20, which sews and distributes reusable menstrual products to refugees. The project now has more than one thousand volunteers worldwide and has helped 3,000 refugees out of period poverty.

Fourteen years ago, Dr. Rana Dajani saw there were no public libraries in Jordan — so she started reading out loud to children at a local mosque. She has now trained 7,000 women to read and created 1500 libraries.

When she was eight, Autumn Peltier learned that her First Nations community in Canada didn’t have clean water. She started advocating for water protection, and at thirteen, addressed the UN General Assembly. She is now the Chief Water Commissioner for the Aniishnabek Nation.

In South Africa, there's a group of women in military fatigues who patrol wildlife reserves and keep poachers away. They call themselves The Black Mambas.

They have no weapons, yet they've saved hundreds of animals from being killed.

When she was 19, Zara Rutherford made history by becoming the youngest woman to fly around the world solo, completing a 52,000 km journey all by herself.

She’s soaring high, and inspiring a new generation of girls along the way.

When Anika Puri was 17, she saw how Africa's elephant population was in decline, and built an AI-powered system that uses infrared cameras to detect poachers, and attached them to drones to monitor them in real time.

Tatiana Erukhimova is a professor of physics at Texas A&M whose joy and passion for science are inspiring the next generation of girls in STEM.

Everyone deserves a teacher like this.

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