By Shayla Zamora
As the year is coming to a close, the Girl Up community has been reflecting on the amazing impact we’ve done to help girls around the world. Through advocating and fundraising, we have influenced girls in a way most can’t even begin to imagine! Therefore, I’d like to take this time to say each and every one of you are my #GIRLHERO(es). Whether you know it or not, each of you have made a difference in someone’s life, and that should not go unnoticed.
2016 was definitely a year of change and growth. 2016 was also a year of strength and #girlpower. Here are 5 of the greatest #GIRLHERO(es) of 2016:
1) Simone Biles
At only 4’ 9” Simone Biles is one of the toughest nineteen-year-olds of 2016. It is no secret she had an outstanding performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics for gymnastics, but what most don’t know is that she’s the first female ever to be the all-around world champion for three consecutive years. She’s also won 14 total World Championship medals— the most ever won by an American woman! Besides being feisty on the floor and beam, she’s also an inspiration to millions of girls worldwide. I think we can all agree she’s definitely a #GIRLHERO!
2) Jaha Dukureh
Jaha Dukureh was named as one of the “100 Most Influential People” by Time in 2016 for sharing her story about female genital mutilation. In Gambia, her native country, she was a victim to FGM and then moved to New York, at just fifteen, for an arranged marriage. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she advocates to end FGM through her blog and she speaks to girls all over the world who need help overcoming their fear to speak out.
3) Hillary Clinton
Although Hillary Clinton did not win the 2016 election cycle, she has given millions of girls the dream of being the first female president. She is the first woman in American history to have been elected as a party’s candidate for president and she will most certainly not be the last. Although she will not be president, she serves as a reminder to girls of all ages that we can be changemakers and leaders at the highest level.
4) Gina Rodriguez
Known for her hit show on the CW, Jane the Virgin, Gina Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican comedy actress. She was also named as one of the “100 Most Influential People” by Time in 2016. Although she has a hilarious personality, she takes diversity and body image seriously. She believes that there should be more diversity in Hollywood, that includes different body types, races, heritages, and languages. She’s also a pretty amazing boxer.
5) Amal Clooney
If Clooney doesn’t seem familiar to you, have you been living under a rock? Amal Clooney married George Clooney in 2014, but she was already a star in her own right. Besides her amazing style, she is recognized around the world for her work as an international lawyer, activist, and writer. She specializes in international law, human rights, and women’s rights. She’s #goals, am I right?
Shayla Zamora is a 2016-2017 Teen Advisor from Florida.