Beeston’s Got the WOW Factor

Wednesday 11 October 2023 marked International Day of the Girl Child. Initiated by the United Nations in 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually. Its aim is to highlight and address the needs and challenges which girls face throughout the globe.

The Women of the World Foundation (WOW) has chosen this year to launch it’s very first WOW Girl’s Festival:

“The WOW Girls Festival will be a force for change across society in how it sees girls, their potential and the opportunities it offers for their future, both in the UK and overseas.”

And it just so happens that our very own Beeston Girl, Tian Liu has been recognised by the WOW Foundation as an Influential Young Leader.

Interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds by Gayle Lofthouse (listen here from 44:45) – Tian describes her journey into youth leadership all the way from her childhood in Beeston to being an elected member of the Youth Parliament for Leeds.

Now elected to her second term representing the young people of Leeds, Tian explained that she first applied to the Leeds Youth Council and was shortlisted from 30 candidates, making it to the last 6 – she then embarked on a campaign to be elected by producing posters and leaflets and giving speeches in schools to try to get as many young people as possible to vote– resulting in a massive 2,000 votes.

Tian didn’t know much about WOW until she received an email saying her work as Leader of the Youth Parliament had seen her nominated by Leeds City of Culture 2023 – of course Tian was delighted to be part of a network of young people from all over the world.

What does Tian plan to do with this recognition? She plans to use this greater platform to reach even more young people so that their voices may be amplified – she wants her leadership to be a force for good and hopes to encourage other young people to speak up about the issues that matter to them.

Tian’s passion? Definitely politics, she says. As with economics, politics can be applied to real life outcomes – if you feel you haven’t been paid enough, look to issues like the minimum wage and how your age affects how much you earn. Politics is about people – and Tian is grateful, in her own words to be in a country where we “value democracy and amplifying voices.”

Tian has been named ‘the busiest girl in school’ as not only is she hard at work campaigning – she is also studying for her A-levels.

Speaking to BBC Leeds host Gayle Lofthouse, Tian explained that she is studying Politics, Economics and Business and is also completing an EPQ – an Extended Project Qualification – in which the student may produce a piece of work on any subject they want – Tian is writing an essay on anti-capitalism vs anti-racism.

Where does she get her positive attitude and confidence from?

“I’ve inherited my confidence from my mum, Huazhu – she works for an organisation called Health for All which has been such a huge part of our lives, providing so many opportunities to get involved in the local community; for example, being part of a youth climate action group.”

“I love Beeston” – Tian says of her home and background and it is the support of her community, friends and teachers from primary and high school who have inspired her and given her the confidence to try to make a difference.

Tian’s advice? Check out the WOW website and social media profiles to find out what you can do to get involved.


This post was written by Lucy Kitching

Photo: Tian (right) with her mother at BBC Radio Leeds

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