“My favourite thing about Girl Power is that over time it turns into Woman Power”
– Cleo Wade
As a child, everything seems possible. People say that children don’t lie, that they are pure and innocent. Not everyone agrees that their ideas are brilliant, or that their opinions are important.
Sadly, the gap between the presumed ‘importance’ of what men say and what women say is still significant. I believe this gap is the result of a system that limits girls’ expression in favour of boys’. The truth, of course, is that both are equally important and valuable.
There are moments when the craziest ideas turn out to be the best ideas. It is time we start to realise that the best ideas do not always come from the most experienced adults. Sometimes great ideas come from great little people. And girls’ voices should not be underestimated.
These 4 Girls Embody ‘Girl Power’
Samantha Smith (1972 – 1985) was an American peace activist. She was named ‘America’s Youngest Ambassador’ after she wrote a letter to the leader of the former Soviet Union, Yury Andropov, in 1982. Smith was worried about a nuclear war, and so she wrote to Andropov to ask him what he would do to prevent it.
Andropov answered her letter with a commitment not to use nuclear weapons. He recognized Samantha’s courage and invited her to the URSS. In an innocent but brilliant proposition, she suggested that the granddaughters of US and Soviet leaders visit each other’s countries once a year to help to guarantee peace.
Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani activist. When she was just 15-years-old she spoke up for girls’ right to education after it was forbidden under Taliban rule. This made her a target, and she was shot in 2012.
As a result of her continued activism for girls’ education, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. She is determined to achieve every girl’s right to go to school through Malala Fund.
Greta Thunberg, aged 16, understands the importance of environmental issues better than most adults. Last year, she sat down in protest in front of the Swedish parliament. Greta went beyond “what would happen if…” and took action, inspiring the whole world to follow her lead. As a direct result of Greta’s boldness, more and more people are paying attention to climate change.
The bottom line is, we cannot underestimate the power of a single action.
When 9-year-old Riley Morrison wanted to own a particular pair of sneakers, she found there weren’t any in the girls section of the website – only in the boys. Riley wrote a letter to Stephen Curry, the professional basketball player, which soon went viral. She not only received a pair of the Curry 5s she’d wanted so badly, but also collaborated with Curry to design a new pair.
Riley’s goal was to change a small but significant fact – sport sneakers are not designed for girls.
Young girls are taking the future into their own hands and carving a path for more equal opportunities. Children often have a clear idea of how things could, and should, be.
The way children look at the world is simple and unique.
The same imagination and innocence that makes adults underestimate children is, in fact, their power. It is important to pay attention to the future generations that will one day lead our world.
Girls with great ideas will create a great world if we give them the chance to do so.