6 Inspiring Female Leaders You Need To Know
To mark International Women's Day, we round up some of our recent stories of inspirational female leadership
Last year, despite the pandemic, global funding for startups hit new records across the board—with one massive exception. Female founders’ share of venture capital funding actually shrank to 2.2 percent in 2020, from an already paltry 2.6 percent a year earlier.
This International Women's Day, the news is a sobering reminder that there's still a long road ahead to gender equity. But when all you can do is look at the bright side, the one positive is that the future looks brighter than ever, as exemplified by the fearless female leaders below.
Here are six inspiring female leaders we've covered recently on Gen.T that you should know, all of whom are breaking new ground in their respective fields.
Founder,The Cacao Project
For training farmers in agroforestry techniques and protecting against deforestation
At just 22 years old, environmentalist, chef and social entrepreneur Louise Mabulo is helping small farmers future-proof their livelihoods and develop more sustainable practices in the Philippines. Through The Cacao Project, Mabulo is encouraging farmers to switch their primary crops from rice and coconut, which have a long yield and are more susceptible to climate change, and replace them with cacao, which is more stable and leads to higher margins for small farmers. For Mabulo, everything she does is aimed at empowering and helping her hometown community.
Key quote “If you want to change the world, it’s very difficult to do it far off. It’s best to do it in your own home town, fixing something in your neighbourhood that’s close to you, because they’re your lived experiences.”
Melati And Isabel Wijsen
Co-founders, Bye Bye Plastic Bags and Youthtopia
For creating a global headquarters for young changemakers
Bye Bye Plastic Bags founders Melati and Isabel Wijsen launched one of Asia’s most impactful environmental movements before they were teenagers. With their new project Youthtopia, they’re teaching other young activists how to follow suit. The sisters told Gen.T they realised their experiences with Bye Bye Plastic Bags, which successfully campaigned to ban plastic bags in their native Bali, gave them the unique ability to help other young activists develop the skills and tools they need to make a difference, be it training young people public speaking skills or teaching them how to lobby for policy change.
Key quote “We knew that there was a larger passion that was growing for us, and that was youth empowerment through peer-to-peer learning”
For shooting subjects that matter and encouraging others to do so
Nadirah Zakariya’s photographs focus on a range of subjects, but often she turns the camera on herself, creating captivating self-portraits that shine a light on the skin condition she suffers from, vitiligo, which causes patches of pigment loss. The Kuala Lumpur-based Gen.T honouree talked to us about accepting her skin condition and why selfies can be empowering.
Key quote "I find that taking self-portraits can be liberating and empowering. It’s sort of like when performance art meets photography, but done in the comfort of your own space. You learn more about yourself and it can help you to accept what others may see as flaws."
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi
For qualifying to compete at the highest level in gymnastics
It’s been a long journey for Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who started gymnastics at the tender age of three and by eight years old dreamed of competing at the Olympic Games. After the disappointment of missing out on the 2016 Rio Games by a 0.1 point margin, she qualified for the Tokyo Games, currently scheduled for summer 2021. She talked to Gen.T about perseverance, training your whole life for a 90-second performance and having a Barbie doll modelled after her likeness.
Key quote "We’re all imperfect in a certain way, and those quirks and those imperfections are the things that actually make us who we are."
Aids activist and founder, Real Talk By Andrea
For shining a light on the importance of sexual health
Andrea Gunawan is crushing sexual health taboos in Indonesia, using content and social media activism to de-stigmatise sexual health in the socially conservative country. By addressing local taboos including HIV/Aids and contraception, she has helped countless people. Her support group Real Talk by Andrea partners with psychologists, doctors and financial advisors to deliver seminars, workshops and training programmes around the country.
Key quote "[Social media is] about giving people a voice. It can bring people together to take action and create meaningful change. It’s a powerful force for telling stories and a great way to follow experts in different fields—and that information is empowering.”
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