Two Game Changers: Nimco Ali and Laura Bates

As part of #16DaysOfActivism, we at #YouthForChange will be highlighting incredible women from across the world who have taken real strides to end violence against women and girls.

Nimco Ali

It’s not something that defines you. It’s something that happened to you.
— Nimco Ali

It’s incredibly difficult to describe just how amazing this young woman is – she really is the embodiment of what it means to be a fearless woman. A survivor of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Nimco has been campaigning to mainstream the issue in the UK and recently started working on #TheGirlGeneration, an African led campaign to end FGM in a generation. Nimco often uses ‘fanny humor’ and lives and breathes her campaign. She is motivated to see more girls like Sofia her niece – girls who can be who they want to be and remain strong and fearless. An inspiration to many, including myself, her passion and commitment to breaking the cycle of FGM and all forms of gender-based violence is simply breath taking. I promise you, all you have to do is listen to her for a second to know that she is insurmountably special.

To all the survivors, please never underestimate your story and speaking out. Even if your voice breaks when you tell it.
— Nimco Ali

Laura Bates

When thinking about how to describe this woman, all I could think was: genius. That word itself could possibly be an understatement because this woman is out of this world amazing. Laura experienced sexism and she got to the point where she said, this can’t only be me. So she set up the Everyday Sexism Project, to document accounts of sexism. With that one genius idea, she has empowered and created solidarity for thousands. Women are now saying we refuse to be silent. Sometimes, it is the smallest ideas that can have the greatest impact. One cannot say that sexism doesn’t exist – it’s impossible. Much of this is due to her being brave enough to take the first step.

So many voices are speaking up at the same time. It’s giving people the strength and confidence to talk about it.
— Laura Bates
Because so many more women are standing up and talking about these issues it enables other people to stand up too…we can’t be silenced anymore.
— Laura Bates

If you've been affected by anything on our site, you can find out how to get support here.

Want to share your views on this story? Leave a comment below, but make sure you check out Community Guidelines and Staying Safe Online advice beforehand!


June is a 17-year-old writer and girls’ rights campaigner. She's written for Cosmopolitan online and The Guardian among others, and she's a regular blogger for the New Statesman. June Eric-Udorie is a member of Plan UK's Youth Advisory Panel, and she also campaigns with youth charity Integrate Bristol against FGM. June is currently studying for her A Levels.