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International Women’s Day – three activists to watch

‘The most righteous thing you can do is shake the table.’ – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

On International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to recognise young trailblazers who are advocating for social, political, and environmental change through their activism.  

Meet Vanessa Nakate  

Vanessa Nakate, a young activist from Uganda, is the founder of the climate action groups Youth for Future Africawhich later transformed into the Rise Up Movement. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, she led a solitary strike against the minimal action on the climate crisis in 2019, and for months she was the sole protestor outside the Ugandan Parliament. Notably, Vanessa lobbied for climate action at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  

Since then, she has started the Green Schools Project, an initiative that enables schools in Uganda to transition to solar energy. She aims to place solar panels across 20,000 schools in the next 10 years.  

Vanessa wants…. 

An inclusive, sustainable, and equitable climate action movement  

People in developing nations to join the global fight against climate action 

Prioritisation of women’s voices from the Global South in climate leadership 

Meet Naomi Wadler  

Naomi Wadler is a 14-year-old Ethiopian-American student who lobbies against gun violence. She has spoken for black women who are disproportionately affected by gun violence. Most notably, she was the youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in support of gun control legislation. Naomi has been praised as a ‘young crusader’ for her generation. 

Since then, Naomi has highlighted racial disparities and the importance of black women’s lives at the Women in the World Annual Summit and the Tribeca Film Festival 

Naomi wants… 

To change the narrative around young girls of colour  

More attention to the lack of news and empathy for victims of gun violence  

Young people to confidently feel like they can advocate for what they believe in 

Meet Amika George 

Amika George is a British activist of Indian descent, who campaigns against period poverty and founded Free Periods. Her work has resulted in the British Government pledging to provide free menstrual products in all schools in England, so no young girls have to miss school due to inaccessibility to sanitary products. Amika gathered thousands of signatures on a petition for universal access to sanitary products. 

Since then, Amika has gone on to be on the panel of Girl Rising and has published a book called ‘Make it Happen – How to be an Activist’, which outlines that people of any age can propel change. 

Amika wants… 

Gender equality to be seen as an attainable goal in the future  

To end the stigma surrounding periods  

For the current government policy around sanitary products to be enshrined in law 

If you’re interested in finding out some more about some inspiring women, take a look at Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, which debunks the idea that men and women have entirely different interests and Taking Up Space by Chelsea Kwakye, that focuses on the experience of education for young black British girls.  

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