Young Women to Watch

Contributed by: Makenna Brandt, Community Relations Intern

We here at GEN love sharing and promoting the amazing work that young women and girls are doing in their local, national, and even global communities. Here are ten young women to keep your eye on; we can’t wait to see what GENcredible things they do next!


1. Hebh Jamal: This Palestinian teen organized a student walkout at her school in New York City that earned her national attention, protesting Trump’s travel ban on Muslim immigrants/refugees. Barely out of high school, she is now the Director of Public Relations at Integrate NYC, an advocacy group that works to diversify public schools in the city.


2. Ruby Tandoh: A former Great British Bake-Off contestant, current ELLE magazine columnist, and author of the baking book Crumb, Ruby Tandoh is an LGBTQ role model who uses her impressive platform to discuss feminist issues and women’s relationships with food and their bodies.


3. Mikaila Ulmer: An incredibly young entrepreneur, Mikaila Ulmer became the CEO of her own company before she had even reached her 12th birthday. She hails from Austin (yay!), and created Me & the Bees Lemonade, which combines her great grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe and her passion for bees. Profits from her sales (which include from Whole Foods and other big-name companies) are donated to organizations attempting to save the honeybees.


4. Yara Shahidi: A young actress, best known for her role as Zoey in the sitcom Black-ish, and its spin-off series Grown-ish, Yara Shahidi uses her celebrity to promote issues she is passionate about. She has created Yara’s club, a mentorship program, and Eighteen x ’18, which is an effort to increase voter turnout in the current election year. She will be attending Harvard in the fall.


5. Muzoon Almellehan: A Syrian refugee, Muzoon Almellehan became UNICEF’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador at age 19. She is also the first person with official refugee status to obtain this title. She travels the world, promoting education for children, especially in countries where children are routinely forced out of school due to war and terrorism.


6. Leah Sibener: This young scientist helped discover the potential for new ways to teach T-cells to attack cancer cells. She then co-founded 3T Biosciences, a company that will develop this new, potentially life-saving technology.


7. Megan Grassell: Another young entrepreneur, Megan Grassell founded Yellowberry while still in high school. Yellowberry creates bras and underwear for pre-teens to boost their confidence and give them options other than typical overly sexualized lingerie.


8. Hu Ranran: After China rolled out new regulations against the depiction of LGBTQ relationships in the media, Hu Ranran directed Escape, a film about a transgender youth. She and 37 of her high school classmates created the film, making the costumes themselves and filming much of the movie at their high school. The film has helped promote more conversation in China about trans issues.


9. Tracy Chou: A former intern for both Facebook and Google, Tracy Chou is now a software engineer at Pinterest and a mentor at San Francisco’s leading software engineering school for women, Hackbright Academy. She created a project called “Where Are the Numbers?” which seeks to hold tech giants accountable for their diversity statistics.


10. Blair Imani: A black Muslim-American, Blair Imani uses her platform to raise awareness about issues affecting fellow queer, black, and Muslim women. She works for Planned Parenthood, and is also the founder and Executive Director of Equality for HER, a nonprofit dedicated to educating women and nonbinary people.

Felicia Gonzalez