There is something inspiring about young people and their belief in their power to change the world. Where older people talk about changing workplaces or, at a stretch, governments, their younger counterparts have their sights on a much bigger picture.

“As a young female leader, I am motivated by service to my community and service to the world, and the pursuit of a more equal and inclusive world,” says Caitlin Figueiredo, a United Nations Task Force member recognised by former First Lady Michelle Obama as a Global Changemaker for Gender Equality and a 2016 winner of the Young Leader category in The Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence awards.

A similar desire to make a difference gets Rosie Thomas out of bed each morning. Thomas is a co-founder and CEO of Project Rockit, a youth-driven movement against cyber bullying, and another AFR young woman of influence. She says her impetus is “anger with the status quo and a relentless belief in a world where kindness and respect thrive over bullying, hate and prejudice”.

“Since I can remember, what’s really driven me to stand up and lead has been that horrible feeling in my gut that something isn’t right,” Thomas says. “I’ve had to dig deep, battle self doubt and build the confidence and skills to stand up – in business and in social change – but it’s been so worth it.”

Young people are standing up for what they believe in. Take the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who organised the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence. Or the young women around the world igniting movements of change, demanding that their rights be respected by men and institutions. They show that with a voice and a belief, anything is possible.

– Hannah Tattersall

Read more: Women of Influence 2018: Young Leaders Determined to Change the World

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