6 Amazing Women Under Age 21 Who Continue To Inspire & Change The World

For most people, turning 18 marks the beginning of adulthood. In the United States, 18-year-olds gain the right to vote and can join the military, decisions that test their ability to connect their lives to others and to take responsibility for making a difference in the world around them. But for six amazing young women under the age of 21, the drive to change the world came long before they officially became an adult.

Take children's rights champion and education activist Malala Yousafzai, who just turned 18. The inspiring social activist showed the world the meaning of courage as she stood against the conservative views of Taliban leaders in Pakistan who believed that girls didn't deserve an education. After speaking out globally for the rights of children, Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

So it should surprise no one that the on her 18th birthday, Yousafzai opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. NPR reported that out of 4 million, more than 1 million of Syria's refugees live in Lebanon. According to a statement posted on the Malala Fund website, the new school will serve some 200 Syrian girls, ages 14 to 18, putting them on a path to receiving university or vocational degrees.

Yousafzai is once again inspiring the world by working to make it better. In honor of her 18th birthday, here are five other young women who changed the world before they turned 21.

by Tiffany Thomas

Jazz Jennings, 15

Jazz Jennings is quite an accomplished advocate for transgender youth and trans visibility, given that she’s only 15 years old. Jennings, who co-authored a children's book loosely based on her experience, is the youngest person to appear on The Advocate's 30 under 30 and the Out 100 lists, according to TIME magazine.

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Lydia Ko, 18

According to Golf Digest, at age 17, Lydia Ko became the youngest person to hold the No. 1 world ranking in golf, male or female. Ko outpaced Tiger Woods' appearance in the number one slot by four years. She turned pro at age 16.

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Megan Grassell, 20

After a shopping trip with her younger sister opened her eyes to how sexualized bra choices were for young girls, a then-17-year-old Megan Grassell founded Yellowberry to offer an age-appropriate alternative. According to her blog post on the company website, Grassell's founded her line of training bras to be unique, comfortable, and — most importantly — youthful.

Images: Yellowberry/YouTube

Neha Gupta, 19

According to The Huffington Post, Neha Gupta founded her Empower Orphans foundation after being transformed by her visit to an orphanage in India when she was just 9 years old. Last year, Gupta won the Children’s Peace Prize for her work to help India's orphaned children.


Mo'ne Davis, 14

At the age of 13, Mo'Ne Davis' 70 miles per hour fastball not only helped her become the first female pitcher to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series, but it landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated and a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Throw like a girl, indeed!

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