Need some inspiration? Meet 5 young women who are changing the world

Every girl deserves the chance to grow up and become the woman she truly wants to be. That’s why at Plan International USA, our work is all about helping girls take the lead so that they can access their rights, clear their paths ahead and create the futures they want for themselves. With more young women leading the way, we can forge a better path forward for everyone. 

 And so, to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re highlighting five young women from around the world who will inspire you to join the fight for gender equality. Because girls and young women need more allies like you to amplify their voices, and we have work to do to create a better tomorrow. 


Gaitree from Bangladesh

Gaitree, an inspirational girl from Bangladesh using karate to end child marriage

How does karate help end child marriage? Gaitree from Bangladesh can tell you. 

When she was 15, she lost both of her parents and had to take care of her younger siblings on her own. “Suddenly, the sky fell on my head,” she says. 

Her uncles tried to marry her off, but she refused. She says she found the courage to stand up to them because of her involvement in a Plan project that builds girls’ confidence and encourages them to challenge gender inequality. 

It was also through Plan that Gaitree participated in a karate class, which helped her discover her inner strength. “I realized that I had the power to change my life and support other girls,” she says. 

Now at age 24, Gaitree teaches martial arts to girls in her community, while at the same time teaching them about their rights. Through her work, she’s prevented 34 cases of child and forced marriage. She’s also on her way to a master’s degree in philosophy — and a black belt. 

“I am boosting the confidence of many girls through the martial arts training,” she says. “Now they can teach their friends and protect themselves from abuse.” 


Safa from Sudan

Safa, an inspirational girl from Sudan, a feminist activist and cafe entrepreneur

If you ever find yourself in Kosti, Sudan, stop by the Queen Café. Owned by a young woman named Safa, 26, this bright, sunny space is more than just a place to quietly read or sip some tea; It’s a symbol of hope. 

Safa is a feminist activist and has built the reputation of her cafe as a feminist platform, attracting like-minded young people working to end sexism in Sudan. She works alongside Plan as an activist, getting involved in campaigns to end female genital mutilation and promote girls’ rights. She also mentors younger girls, encouraging them to become financially independent. 

“I see a good future, because there are a lot of good results happening,” Safa says. “It happens in a slow rhythm, but it is still happening. A lot of society, we know, have accepted and understood the concept of women’s rights, and change has happened. So this motivates you to work hard, and anything you work hard for you can get.” 


Luna from the U.S.

Luna, an inspirational girl from the US, on Plan USA’s Youth Advisory Board

Luna is a member of Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board, the founder and executive director of Effective Climate Action Project and a dedicated activist focused on climate education and eco-feminism. She is fluent in three languages (she grew up speaking English and Spanish, and then taught herself Japanese) — and even plans to learn new languages, including Arabic and Korean. 

Her organization, ECAP, works to promote systemic climate solutions that are grounded in science, technology and policy. ECAP leads initiatives like interactive workshops, online advocacy campaigns and outreach to young people to help them advocate for local environmental policy. The organization’s work was even selected for the 2021 Gender Just Climate Solutions Award, issued by the Women and Gender Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

“Around the world, women are most impacted by global challenges including climate impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability,” Luna says. “More female leaders means more policy protecting and empowering marginalized groups in the face of such global issues.” 

Luna’s own leadership is creating change, and she’s just getting started. Through leading the ECAP, she was selected as one of 12 female climate activists to participate in a project with the Beyonders Foundation in the Netherlands. While participating, she developed a six-month project focused on how climate action and gender equality intersect. Along with other activists, she presented her work at a conference with high-level business executives from Nike, Patagonia and more! 

“My hope for the future of gender equality around the world is that leaders in all sectors of society learn to value female voices and increase equal opportunities for education and community empowerment,” Luna says. 


Karine from Brazil

Karine, an inspirational girl from Brazil, is an education entrepreneur

Karine’s entrepreneurship journey began when she got involved with a Plan program for young people who wanted to start their own businesses. And it brought her all the way to Shark Tank Brazil. 

When she first joined the Plan program, Karine couldn’t help but notice that most of the terms used by entrepreneurs in Brazil were in English. She saw this as a barrier for people who don’t speak English. And, she realized there were many more young people who can’t access information about innovation or business. That’s when she worked out the concept for her business, Wakanda. 

Wakanda is an entrepreneurial education company with a training curriculum designed to teach a diverse span of audiences, especially young women. The company offers a wide range of courses and has helped hundreds of young entrepreneurs over the years. Karine even pitched Wakanda on Shark Tank Brazil — and she left with a new partner, Rio de Janeiro business mogul Camila Farani. 

 “Women, and especially Black women, have always been entrepreneurs out of necessity,” Karine says. “But the language of entrepreneurship drives people away and crystallizes [in] the figure of a white man in a suit and tie.” 

Now, thanks to Karine, entrepreneurship is becoming more inclusive for everyone. 


Francisca from Ghana

Francisca, an inspirational girl from Ghana, working as a female radio engineer.

In Ghana (and too many other places), it’s not very often that you see a young female leader in technology. Girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in secondary schools is still lower than that of boys. 

But Francisca is bucking the trend. 

She’s a studio engineer working in a Plan satellite education program in Accra. The program broadcasts catch-up radio lessons for children who have fallen behind with their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Live lessons are transmitted to more than 72 schools that are supported by Plan, and each school is provided with technical support and classroom facilitators so that students can access the radio lessons. 

As a young woman in STEM, Francisca is motivated to keep going — because she knows her legacy will leave a lasting impact on girls’ lives in Ghana. Because when girls become women who get the same opportunities as men, they can play an indispensable part in advancing society. 

“I want to encourage all girls to aspire to be whoever they want to be in the future, with a positive mindset of: ‘Yes I can,’” she says. 

Want to take action and #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day? Share this blog on social, tag a girl or woman who inspires you and tell us why on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram 

To make even more of an impact, you can help young people around the world participate in gender equality trainings by donating this Gift of Hope!