Gender, Love, Inequality

12 incredible women under 20 taking the world by storm

Could these women set the bar any higher?

Millennials are so 2015. Now, it’s the Gen-Zers we’re watching. These youth have grown up with technology at their fingertips, and what they’re creating showcases their ability to utilize technology and social media to make a name for themselves.

From the fields of science to fashion, these young women are striving to make the world a better place for everyone.

They’re smart, they’re humble, and they’re outspoken. They are taking the world by storm.

1. Sushma Verma

This prodigious 15 year-old adamantly believes people should be judged by their talent and not their age. She’s a case in point, considering that she is the youngest postgraduate in history. The daughter of a wage laborer, Sushma hasn’t had anything handed to her.

Despite financial barriers and age restrictions, what she’s achieved is nothing short of remarkable. Sushma is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in microbiology at Lucknow University in India.

If she continues on this track- and we have no doubt that she will- she will have her PhD at the tender age of 17.

2. Zora Ball

Huffington Post
Huffington Post

At the age of seven, Zora created a mobile video game. She is the youngest person to date to create such a program.

In order to create her game, Ball mastered the programming language Bootstrap, which is usually taught to students between the ages of 12 and 16. Zora is a role model for girls who want to code, in an industry that has historically underestimated our ability.

3. Ann Makosinski


Ann takes being an overachiever to the next level. She’s already been featured in TIME Magazine’s venerated “Thirty Under Thirty” list, received a $25,000 scholarship, and given three TED talks.

This young Canadian has been competing in science fairs since she was six-years-old. Her most notable invention is a hand-heat-powered Hollow Flashlight, which was exhibited at the Google Science Fair. Ann undeniably has a bright future ahead.

4. Asia Newson

Asia is nothing if not ambitious.

At 10 years old, she became Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur. With the aid of her father, she runs a candle company called Super Business Girl.

Asia eventually aspires to enter the world of politics. She wants to become mayor of Detroit, and ultimately, has her sights set on the Presidency. Could she set the bar any higher?

5. Yara Shahidi

Getty Images
Getty Images

Yara is an actress and model recognizable for her role as Zoey on popular ABC sitcom Black-ish. The 16-year-old uses her role on the show to propel two of her passions: acting and activism. Yara has spoken out against the lack of diversity in Hollywood and the on-screen perpetuation of stereotypes.

This young woman has a vision for the future: “It is through my character and characters like [Zoey] that the barriers that racism, ageism, sexism, and other -isms can be broken down.”

6. Quvenzhané Wallis


The youngest ever Academy Award nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Wallis is a superstar in the making. She’s even caught the eye of Beyonce. Queen Bey cast her in Lemonade among other notable Black woman like Serena Williams.

She received her nomination at the age of nine for her role in film “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which she auditioned for at the age of five. Quvenzhane has achieved more in ten years than many actors accomplish in their entire careers.

She’s definitely one to watch.

7. Lily Born

Lily Born might be the perfect grandchild. After witnessing her grandfather’s everyday struggles with Parkinson’s, Lily invented a cup specially designed for persons with the disease. The cups have a no-spill feature that make them incredibly useful.

At the age of 12, she has sold over 11,000 of the cups. Lily’s philanthropy doesn’t end with helping the elderly and sick. She donates a portion of the profits from Kangaroo Cups to support STEM education for young girls.

8. Muzoon Almellehan

The migrant crisis is one of the most critical issues of 2016, and 17 year old Muzoon provides a voice of action and compassion. Almellehan has been referred to as the “Malala of Syria” and has campaigned with fellow activist Yousafzai about the important of educating young women.

It is stories like Muzoon’s that help a crisis worlds away feel real to those of us who have the privilege of being unaffected.

9. Evita Nuh

Jakarta-based Evita doesn’t let her disability hold her back. After being diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a type of Autism that impedes communication and social skills, Evita found a safe space to communicate on the web.

She created a fashion blog called JellyJellyBeans that shares her raw thoughts along with her insights about style and design. The looks she creates are expressive and effortlessly cool.

10. Avie Acosta

Avie, who heralds fellow trans activist Hari Nef as her inspiration, is a force to be reckoned with in 2016. To Avie, gender is completely culturally created and therefore, can be completely culturally revolutionized.

The 19-year-old recently relocated to the Big Apple from Oklahoma and is working for Wilhelmina modeling agency on the men’s board (and is the first trans girl to do so). With her laissez-faire attitude and striking looks, Avie is at the forefront of diversifying the modeling industry.

11. Kyemah Mcentrye


Kyemah skyrocketed to international acclaim when her African-print prom dress went viral online.

Her designs are a platform for black women’s rights: “I am tackling social issues through fashion design, by influencing the way women feel and look in their clothes, with grand African prints and revealing silhouettes. My paintings and designs dismantle European beauty standards, which is why it became therapy for myself and other Black women.”

Kyemah intends to use fashion to fuel change.

12. Barbie Ferreira

If you don’t know her name, you probably recognize Barbie’s face from Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign. The 19-year-old model- whose real name is actually Barbara– proudly showcases her size 12 bombshell figure. What sets Barbie apart is her refusal to let her photographs to be retouched, which is still rare in today’s modeling industry.

Barbie is on a mission to eradicate impossible standards of beauty forged by the retouching and photoshopping of models. Like fellow plus-size model Ashley Graham, Barbie advocates for body positivity and teaches young women that size has no correlation to beauty.

She’s not the prototypical Barbie, and we love that about her.