15 Female Gen-Z & Millennial Activists In Hollywood Making History Right Now

These young women are not just powerful on-screen -- they are changing the world off-screen. From Willow Smith to Hunter Schafer, here are the young stars proving the future is female right now.

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Emma Watson
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People who think Gen-Z and millennial individuals are too young to make a change haven’t met these phenomenal women. Young actresses, activists and TV stars in Hollywood are making a lot of noise these days, fighting for everything from equal pay for women, racial equality, environmental change and the safety of students. In a time when there feels like there is so much to fear, Hollywood’s young stars are taking a stand to make for a better tomorrow for themselves, their fans and women across the globe. And considering March is Women’s History month, we thought we’d give those young women their due.

Take for instance Emma Watson. Yes, she’s best known as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies, but since leaving Hogwarts, the 30-year-old actress has become one of the leading voices in young female activism. Not only has she been a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2014 and is the founder of her own feminist book club, but she was also one of the most vocal leaders amid the Time’s Up movement in 2018, and worked to stop harassment and abuse in workplaces across all industries. In fact, she personally donated $1.4 million to the UK branch of the movement, the UK Justice and Equality fund to ensure the organization would thrive to protect more working women. She was also joined by the likes of Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Taylor Swift, who donated $100,000 for the legal defense fund. 

Porsha Williams
Porsha Williams speaks at a campaign event for Democratic Georgia US Senate candidates Jon Ossof and Reverend Rafael Warnock in Dec. 2020; they ended up winning the election! [Shutterstock]
And then there is Porsha Williams, who was inspired her grandfather — famed civil rights activist Hosea Williams — and called on her countless Bravo fans to take a stand amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 39, headed to the protests herself and was even arrested in Kentucky while protesting police brutality. But Porsha did not regret fighting for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman and EMT who was shot to death inside her own apartment by Louisville Metro Police officers.

We also want to spotlight Hunter Schafer, the iconic actress behind Jules. Before Hunter became Euphorias breakout star, she was listed as the youngest plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit that challenged North Carolina’s House Bill Two (AKA, the “bathroom bill”) in 2016. The bill required individuals to use single-gender bathrooms based on the gender listed on their birth certificate, thus offering limited protection for transgender people. Hunter went on to model on Fashion Week runways in 2018, bringing even more attention to the lawsuit. Now that she’s an A-list actress, Hunter uses her Twitter platform to share important fundraising links.

Hunter Schafer
Hunter Schafer encourages fans to support members of the transgender community by sharing fundraising links on social media. [MEGA]
Meanwhile, Willow Smith performed at the Climate Strike (an event at which fellow activists called for the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy) in New York City in Sept. 2019. The 20-year-old “Wait a Minute!” singer has continued to use her platform as a co-host on her family’s Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk to bring awareness to subjects like anti-racism, police brutality, white privilege and more alongside her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, and grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Willow Smith
Willow Smith performing at the 2019 Climate Strike. [MEGA]
But these women are far from the full list of female stars making a difference. Scroll through the gallery above and you’ll see how Millie Bobby Brown is tackling bullying with her own charity, how America Ferrera is fighting for DREAMERS, and how Yara Shahidi is on the mission to bring girls together at a young age to discuss how they can make social change in their communities as they grow. Truly, they are working towards a bolder, brighter tomorrow — a future that most definitely will be female!