real life

Meet your future game changers: 14 incredible young girls already making a difference.

Some might despair for the “youth” of today, but there’s no need. Case in point? The array of incredible women and girls already kicking goals – many of them before they’ve even hit their late teens.

To celebrate this week’s International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of 15 impressive young girls under the age of 20 who are already changing the world in different ways.

Sushma Verma

Sushma-incredible-women

Image: The Better India

Sushma Verma is a genius. No, really. The now 17 year old was just 13 when she graduated high school and broke records when she finished her Masters of Microbiology (at the top her her class) before she turned 16.

The daughter of a sanitation worker who works at the same university she studies at, Verma aspires to become a doctor but age constraints restrict her from starting a medical course until she comes of age. She's pursuing a PhD in the meantime.

We're all about celebrating powerful women. Listen to another story of kickass woman here. Post continues...

"As I belong to a poor family, there were many tough financial constraints — but more than that, my young age has been a major constraint in pursuing higher education. Getting permission to attend high school and seeking a seat for the medicals posed big problems," she said in a 2013 interview.

"However, my family has always been supportive. My father is a daily wage labourer and my mother a housewife."

Her brother Shailendra is also a prodigy who became the youngest science graduate at the age of 14.

Izzi Dymalovski

ADVERTISEMENT

At 14 years old, Melbourne student Izzi (Isabella) Dymalovski has already achieved more than many of us will in our entire careers.

After identifying a gap in the market for skincare specifically for young tweens, she developed her own natural skin care line called Luv Ur Skin. After impressing investors on Channel 10's Shark Tank, her range is now stocked in over 420 Priceline stores nationally.

"I used to do a lot of dance concerts and I wasn’t allowed to use any of my mum’s skincare products to take my makeup off because she said they were too chemical-y," she told Mamamia.

"So a few arguments later, she said, ‘Why don’t you go and do your own stuff?’ I don’t think she assumed I’d go off and do it."

Zora Bell

zora-ball
Image: The Huffington Post
ADVERTISEMENT

Bell was just seven years old when she became the youngest person to create a full-version mobile game application. The first grader, who attends Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, presented her creation at the University of Pennyslvania's "Bootstrap Expo" in 2013.

Ball built the game using a programming language called "Bootstrap" that teaches children between the ages of 12 and 16 to understand complex maths.

 Amandla Stenberg

A post shared by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on

Since playing Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, 17 year-old Stenberg has been a vocal social activist discussing race, representation and gender identity. She counts Gloria Steinem and Beyonce among her fans, interviewing Steinem in an interview for Teen Vogue and starring in the singer's visual album Lemonade. Stenberg is currently attending film school at New York University.

Yusra Mardini

ADVERTISEMENT

The Syrian born 18 year old was a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic team who competed at last year's Rio Games. Mardini's chosen sport? Swimming - and there's an incredible story behind why. When she was fleeing her home country, Mardini along with her sister and two other refugees had to swim three house in the open waters of the Aegaen Sea to pull their broken down dinghy safely to the shores of Lesbos.

Chloe Kim

(Source: Facebook.)

Shooting into the air at breakneck speeds, spinning like a ballerina and then sliding to a gentle stop: elite snowboarder Chloe Kim is at the top of her game. Kim was only 16 years old when she became the only woman to have ever landed back-to-back 180s in the half -pipe. The skill required to perform such a trick may speak volumes about her natural gifts but this young woman is the perfect example of a life of dedication.

Speaking to Teen Vogue, Kim explained she learned to snowboard at the young age of four, as a way for her father to lure her mother into mountain trips.

"When I was four, my dad took me to the mountain with him. It was kind of to bribe my mom to go snowboarding with him, but she didn’t want to go, so he thought it’d be good to take me instead, to make her feel like she had to go because her kid was going," she said.

Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but is tipped to make team USA for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.

Malala Yousafzai

(Source: Getty Images.)
ADVERTISEMENT

A women who should need little introduction, 19 year old, Malala Yousafzai, is a face of change in a teenager's body. The youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize, Yousafzai rose to international prominence for her campaigning efforts against the Taliban's ban on girls attending school in her home country of Pakistan.

Yousafzai continued to criticise the militants' reign even after Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. Determined to continue her efforts, the then 15-year-old's criticisms only grew more powerful following her recovery.

But Yousafzai's beginnings as a voice for women came long before the shooting. The Nobel prize winner began publishing an anonymous blog for the BBC about life under the Taliban regime when she was only 11 years old. Yousafzai, unable to publish openly, wrote under the pseudonym - Gul Makai, a name given to a brave woman in a Pakistani folk tale.

Yousafzai is a shining example of a young woman determined to make the world a better place.

Sabre Norris

(Source: Facebook/Ellen.)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sabre Norris is a 12 year old Australian surfing prodigy who is as sweetly fierce as she is naturally talented. Carving up the water, and the ramps, when she hops aboard her skateboard, this is one girl we are sure will make history.

Norris' surfing career has already seen her competing on an international level, after she was picked as a wildcard entry to the Sydney International Pro. Her performance that day made her the second youngest surfer to ever compete in a World Surf League event.

Her talents as a sporting professional may have paved the way to her fame but it isn't just sheer skill that won her international recognition.

Norris charmed hearts the world over after she appeared on Ellen Degeneres' talk show and explained her plans to spend all her prize money on sugary treats. The viral video went on to be viewed over 30 million times since its release at the end of 2016.

Georgie Stone

(Source: ABC.)

In a country where politicians continue to handicap their LGBTI people, Georgie Stone is a 16 year old girl who refuses to take no for an answer.

Stone, who is transgender, is passionate about advocating for hers and others' rights to receive the medical assistance they needs to complete their transition. Stone became the youngest person in Australia to be granted permission to access hormone blockers at just 10 years old after she won the legal right to do so in 2011. Hormone blockers are the first stage of medical treatment transgender children can access in order to ease their physical transition.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stone rose to fame after her legal win meant that transgender children in Australia are no longer required to go through the Family Court to access hormone blockers. Children are still required the consent of their doctors and their parents in order to access medical treatment.

Stone told Mia Freedman, in her No Filter interview, she couldn't bear the thought of other young trans children having to go through the legal ordeal she suffered: "It was taking a long time, and I was distressed at the things that were happening in my body."

You can read and listen to more of Georgie Stone's story here.

Simone Biles

Simones first GK photo shoot ????✨????????????

A post shared by Nellie biles (@nblouise110) on

At 19 years old, Simone Biles has already taken over as the most decorated American gymnast, with a combined total of 19 Olympics and World Championship medals. The third of four siblings, Biles was adopted by her grandparents after her mother Shanon was unable to care for the children due to drug and alcohol addiction. She first tried gymnastics at six years old as part of a day-care field trip and won four gold medals and a bronze at the Rio games last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barbie Ferreira

valentine-less today but still a garden ????

A post shared by barbie ferreira (@barbienox) on

The face (and body) or US underwear brand Aerie's #AerieReal campaign, 19 year-old Barbie Ferreira (real name Barbara) is a model with a difference. The size 12 model refuses to let her photographs be retouched - something that is unfortunately still quite rare in the industry - and is sparking real body positive change.

First rising to prominence in January last year, she has since modelled for Missguided and starred in a Teen Vogue YouTube Series.

"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with [being called] curvy or plus-size. Curvy and plus-size models will just be models once...we get more representation," she told Time last year.

Priyanshi Somani

PriyanshiSomani
ADVERTISEMENT

Image: Wikipedia

Dubbed "the human calculator", 18 year old Somani can perform mathematical calculations faster than an electronic calculator. To her, mathematical puzzles and competitive games is pure fun, which has helped her develop an ability to accomplish any arithmetical calculations in mere minutes,

She has received several awards including the youngest participant and winner of the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 and holds a World Cup record for calculating square roots.

Sasha and Malia Obama

Malia-Sasha-Obama
Image: Getty

Is it any surprise the offspring of our favourite couple Michelle and Barack Obama are such kick-ass women? Last year, 16 year-old Sasha helped her mum promote women's education in Liberia and Morocco while 19 year-old Malia is headed to Harvard. They're down-to-earth, relatable, poised, intelligent and cool and have become role models for many, including plenty of young black women in the US who praise them on social media with the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic.

The future is in good hands.

00:00 / ???