• Revolutionary drama Resistance. (SBS)Source: SBS
From flattening armies to creating electricity with pee, here are five pioneering teenage women from days past and present.
Jeremy Cassar

9 Nov 2016 - 4:42 PM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2016 - 4:42 PM

Resistance tells the story of a group of young French citizens who refuse to offer up their freedom (or lives) to the Nazi occupation in 1940. Parisian teen Lily (Pauline Burlet) charges forward with a courage that sees her undercover with the Gestapo.

Today it’s time to tip our hats to teenage women past and present who have made a difference.

Mary Shelley

When I was 18, I was writing earnest tripe where nothing really happened, as if I had bolts screwed into my head. When Shelley was the same age, she wrote her first novel, about a monster with bolts screwed into its head.

That’s right, before the age of 19 she’d written what is still today one of the most iconic novels in the horror genre — Frankenstein, and her legacy arguably contributed to the birth of sci-fi.

Brittany Wenger

After 17-year-old American Wenger taught herself coding, her first move was to create a soccer game whose players and teams ‘learn’ as games progress, but after her cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer she put her new skills to a different use.

At the end of this endeavor, Wenger had created a machine that could quickly detect breast cancer with a 99.11% accuracy. I’m not even going to attempt to explain how it works, but as she won the 2012 Google science fair and was invited to discuss her work with Barack Obama, we’re guessing it’s a fairly impressive bit of tech.

Oh, and she figured out how to do the same with detecting Leukemia. All in a youths work.

Anne Frank

A symbol of every young imaginative casualty of Hitler’s wrath, Frank’s writings are often too heartbreaking to read without taking a break.

Anne and seven others survived two years in a hidden annex before the Nazi’s sent them off to the concentration camps. Her diary became a posthumous classic, and remains a vital chronicle of humanity in the face of the inhumanity of war.

Joan of Arc

Slightly concerning is the fact that young Joan saw instructional visions since a young age, but I guess they didn’t have TV so visions were more common.

Either way, at the age of 16 Joan was vying for the ear of the King, despite receiving the Simon Cowell treatment from those on guard. Undeterred, by the age of 17 she’d won the loyalty of two prominent soldiers, and over the next two years she’d lead French armies into numerous battles, each of which were won swiftly at her command, single-handedly lifting the nation’s spirits.

Unfortunately she was captured and burned alive at the age of 19.

Four students from the great African continent

15-year-old Bello Eniola and three 14-year-olds Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Duro-Aina Adebola live in an area where electricity is scarce, if existent at all. So naturally, any young budding scientist or inventor would cast their minds onto this problem that spreads to all extents of the continent.

What’s unique about the minds of these four students is that they somehow figured out how to use urine to power a generator.


Apparently the idea isn’t new, but these students finally put the concept into practical action. All over the world, companies are experimenting with breaking down wastewater into a useable fuel.

Think about that next time you visit the lavatory.

Head over to SBS On Demand now and just try and resist Resistance!

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