5 girls who prove the theory behind #BanBossy

These girls show that when they are allowed to be ambitious, remarkable things can happen.

"I'm not bossy, I'm the boss," says Beyoncé.

That's the message behind the #BanBossy campaign, which was also backed by Jennifer Garner and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: that it's OK for girls to show courage, determination and leadership.

The outcome is not just a video that's been viewed millions of times in just a few weeks, but the sparking of a genuine debate about how girls should be encouraged to follow their dreams rather than forced to conform to someone else's vision.

But you don't have to be an A-lister like Beyoncé to show what's possible when girls are empowered to be ambitious.

All over the world girls are doing remarkable things and inspiring others to do the same. Here are just five who've hit the headlines since #BanBossy went viral. With inspiration from campaigns such as this, we hope to see many more like them in the future…

The girl who took a stand against FGM

Lillian Mwita, from Kenya, is outspoken, confident and unafraid of standing up for what she believes in. "I would never accept the cut, whether they brand me an outcast or not." At just nine years old, when faced with female genital mutilation she ran away from home and took refuge with some anti-FGM crusaders. "I am young. I have big dreams for my future and what matters to me now is education," she says.

The girl who refused to accept violence

Joyce Mkandawire saw girls regularly being encouraged to have sex with men (known as hyenas) in her home country, Malawi. "The hyena doesn't wear protection, which is why I know girls who have contracted HIV because of hyenas," she explains. Refusing to adopt a passive attitude, Joyce decided to do something about it and set up the Girls Empowerment Network. Her tenacity and drive are helping to drive genuine change for for Malawi's girls, a shift for the better led by another Joyce - President Joyce Banda.

The girl who spoke out about trafficking

After being bought for USD$400 by traffickers, 19-year-old Somila was almost sold into prostitution before being rescued at the last minute. It would have been easy for her to go into hiding afterwards, but Somila refused to stay silent and spoke out passionately about her ordeal in India: "They should realise that they cannot separate daughters from their parents and make us fools. They speak lies and make us fools. They cheat us."

The girls educating other girls

Quite rightly, almost everyone in the world will have heard about Malala Yousafzai's incredible fight for girls' education. But not everyone will have heard of 23-year-old Shiza Shahid. Now chief executive and co-founder of the Malala Fund, Pakistan-born Shiza left her job as an analyst to be by Malala's side after she was shot. Ambitious, courageous and determined, her qualities match Malala's perfectly. She's steered their campaign to its high-profile status and recently established a groundbreaking partnership with Vodafone to use mobile technology to power literacy programmes for girls.

The girl who spoke the truth about child marriage

Even though the law in India says girls must be 18 before they marry, almost half aren't. Often, it's girls' parents who make that decision, so it's difficult and scary for girls to speak out. When Kamla, 13, spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations for its interactive report on child marriage, her honest and frank answers completely broke the mould. "When my parents mentioned marriage, I had no idea what 'marriage' even meant," she told her interviewer. Her courage to speak up is inspiring leaders such as Hillary Clinton to act.

If #BanBossy has a lasting impact, girls like these five will become the norm. Let's make it happen.

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