Choma Queens: 5 Women in Human Rights Activism  

In March we celebrate Human Rights Day, not only to commemorate the bravery of those who fought for their rights in the Sharpville Massacre in 1960 but also to highlight the rights of people who are still discriminated now, in 2018. We may have come a long way in the fight against discrimination over the years, but we still have a long way to go in achieving equality for everyone. This is why we still have human rights activists today who fight equality around the world, and those are the people I am celebrating today. Here are 5 Human Rights Activists making a difference in the world today.  

Malala Yousafzai 

Malala Yousafzai is one of the most famous young Human Rights Activists in the world today. She became well known all over the world when she was nearly killed and shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban in her home country, Pakistan, and for fighting for girls to become educated. At just 20 years old she has already won a Nobel Peace Prize and continues to fight for the rights of women and girls around the world.  

Quote: “I believe we can see every girl in school in my lifetime.” 

ILwad Elman  

ILwad Elman is a Somali-Canadian social rights activist who works for the foundation her mother founded called the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center. She’s + co-founder of the first rape crisis center for victims of sexual and gender based violence in Somalia and has developed programs to help child soldiers, while also creating inclusive spaces for women.  

Quote: “I hate when young people say, “I’m not into politics.” How are you not into politics?! I think it’s cool to be conscious. I think we can all add value to our respective communities, and it’s time to act”  

Adv. Thuli Madonsela  

Advocate Thuli Madonsela is one of South Africa’s favorite people. She is a human rights lawyer and an equality expert who has been fighting for justice for a long time, especially as our Public Protector between 2009 and 2016. But from being an amazing public protector, she’s now a amazing advocate for the freedom and empowerment of the youth in South Africa. Her foundation, THUMA, which was actually recently launched, focuses on developing leadership amongst the youth.  

Quote: “When you find yourself seeing what’s not yet visible to others don’t be discouraged for such is the burden and gift of leadership”.   

Marley Dias  


Marley Dias is a young African-American human rights activist. She’s only 13 years old but she’s already an author and public speaker who is making a name for herself around the world. Her activism started when she became frustrated about there not being enough books to read that featured people of colour. So she decided not to only collect and donate books that include people of colour but to write her own. She encourages young girls to believe in themselves and is on a mission to break stereotypes girls often face.  

Quote: “I would like to tell the girls who don’t think they can make a difference… that whoever put that idea in your head you should tell them to stop. You can, and as long as you firmly believe in whatever you’re saying your dreams and wishes will come true”  

Zulaikha Patel  

We can’t talk about activism in this day and age without talking about Zulaikha Patel. You might remember her from 2016 when she became a symbol in the fight against the Pretoria Girls High School regarding her, and other black girls in the schools, hair. After images of her leading the march against the school’s policies, Zulaikha became a famous symbol of the fight for racial equality in modern times.  

 Quote: (To young people) “Keep following your dreams and fighting for a non-racial South Africa. Live to the ideals of our past freedom fighters and don’t forget the history. Live to the ideals of their history and to the constitution”  

These are just a few amazing young women around the world who continue the fight for equality and social justice. Do you know any other women who should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.  

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).