Girls on Fire
All throughout the world, many women have worked to create change. Some have gained worldwide recognition for the efforts while others are not as widely known. But that doesn’t mean that they have not made as big of an impact in the world, it simply means that we need to shine more light on both them and their achievements. From being climate change activists to helping the homeless, these are just a few of those inspirational women.
Recently, there have been many climate change activists and change-makers who have been and still are working towards a greener planet.
Autumn Peltier is a 15-year-old water activist, coming from Wikwemikong First Nation/Manitoulin Island. She has had the opportunity to address the United Nations and has been honoured by the Assembly of First Nations for her work in advocating for clean drinking in First Nations communities and across the Earth. She has said,
“Nobody or no community should have to live without clean drinking water because water is a basic human right and everyone deserves clean drinking water and nobody can live without it.”
Although Indigenous Peoples are not worsening the impacts of climate change, they are often the ones who are disproportionately impacted by it. Many Indigenous leaders and community members have taken a stand against this issue but have not had their voices heard, Autumn Peltier being one of them.
Another inspirational woman is Jessica O. Matthews, a Nigerian-American scientist and venture capitalist. She founded Uncharted Power, which builds and operates renewable energy. Furthermore, she raised $7 million in venture capital money in 2016. The energy industry is dominated by men, with women leaders making up a very small portion of the industry. Despite that, Matthews has not been afraid of making her mark.
On top of being climate change-makers, there have been countless women who have founded organizations aiding the homeless but remain unnoticed.
Najah Bazzy founded a nonprofit called Zaman which supports women and children living in poverty in the Detroit area by offering food, clothing and helping them find housing. Later on, she opened a “one-stop center” which offered education and skills training so they could truly get back on their feet. She’s said,
“You throw them a life jacket, and then you have to really anchor them.”
Nadya Okamoto is another woman who has made strides in easing the lives of homeless women. As a teen, she passed homeless shelters in Portland and asked women what they needed most to which most answered period supplies. When she did her own research, she wasn’t able to find any organizations addressing the problem of period poverty. This led to her founding her own organization, Period. In five years, Period has been able to distribute over 1,000,000 feminine hygiene products to women in need. Period poverty is often an issue that many people aren’t aware of or are scared to talk about due to the stigma surrounding it. Okamoto has been able to demonstrate her bravery through the founding of her organization.
These are only four women out of millions whose contributions have significantly bettered the lives of many people around the world. This goes to show that we need to continue to strive towards the goal of having these women be recognized for their amazing achievements and having their voices be heard. This won’t come easy, but we believe that it will come.