International Women’s Day 2021: 20 Marvellous Women Who #ChooseToChallenge

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What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than by acknowledging strong women who have carved a niche for themselves, made their way to the top, and inspired us all in the process. These women have shown us how to lead with kindness, integrity, and love; and change the world—one innovative step at a time.

Even as we reel under a global pandemic, they’ve pushed through, saved jobs, uplifted those who needed the most help, continued to innovate, and transformed lives. We salute these women and in their honour, celebrate their achievements.

Needless to say, these are the 20 marvellous Asian women we love and are inspired by, everyday.

1. Halimah Yacob

Image source: Facebook / Halimah Yacob

Who is she:
President of Singapore

Achievements:
Yacob was elected as the President of Singapore in the 2017 Singapore presidential election.

Why we admire her:
Yacob was the first woman to become the Speaker of the Singapore Parliament and four years later in 2017, she was elected as the first woman President of Singapore. Championing the interest of women and workers, she was the director of the women’s development secretariat for the National Trades Union Congress and eventually became NTUC deputy secretary-general. Along with many other firsts, she is also the first Singaporean elected to the governing body of the International Labor Organisation. She has served on many boards including the Tripartite Workgroup on Enhancing Employment Choices for Women and Mendaki Sense. As a working mother herself, Halimah has fought for equal benefits for women civil servants. Yacob has used her platform to train older and less-skilled workers as well as care for the elderly and mentally-ill.

To quote her:
There is much good that we can do especially if we do them together.”

2. Diana Ser

Image source: Instagram / dianaserlye

Who is she:
Journalist, Host, and Channel NewsAsia Presenter

Achievements:
Runner Up in the Best Current Affairs category, Asian Television Awards 2004, and received Nanyang Technological University’s inaugural Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2005.

Why we admire her:
A pioneer in Singapore’s media industry, she has produced, written, and presented her own content through various platforms including print, television and radio. For over two decades, Ser has engaged audiences through her content and interviewed many personalities including Lee Kuan Yew, Ken Livingstone and Gong Li. Fluent in both English and Chinese, she advocates for people to learn more languages and often shares how being bilingualism has given her many professional opportunities. Even with a strenuous job, Ser still manages to balance her work and personal life beautifully and takes out quality time for her family.

To quote her:
When you are anchored just like a big tree, you will feel more solid, and you will feel more confident, to do whatever that you are doing.”

3. Pranoti Nagarkar-Israni

International Women's Day
International Women's Day

Image source: Rotimatic

Who is she:
Co-founder, Inventor and CEO of Zimplistic Inventions Pvt Ltd.

Achievements:
Pranoti co-founded Zimplistic Inventions Pvt Ltd, a company that created Rotimatic, an automated kitchen appliance that makes flatbread.

Why we admire her:
Nagarkar is a fourth generation Mechanical Engineer and always aspired to be an inventor. Her journey towards innovation started from her junior college days when she built a prototype for an ironing machine. It was a warm-up for what was to come in the 8-year long Rotimatic journey. Currently the founder and CEO of Rotimatic, this innovator has 37 patents under her belt. She is also a frequent panellist at technology entrepreneurship events. Popularly known as a champion for female entrepreneurs everywhere, Nagarkar believes in setting big goals and then “going after them one tiny step at a time.” A mum of two, she is also an avid reader and clearly knows how to balance work-life with flair.

To quote her:
Cooking a roti is easier than ever, meaning people can eat at home more often and manage their health better.”

4. Maria Wang-Faulkner

International Women's Day
International Women's Day

Image source: Maria Wang-Faulkner

Who is she:
Co-founder of Fig Fertility

Achievements:
Wang-Faulkner co-founded the start-up Fig Health with the aim to empower all women to understand and own their reproductive health proactively, whatever their life goals may be.

Why we admire her:
Wang-Faulkner comes from a line of strong female pioneers in healthcare. Her first job was in epidemiology, and then she worked on rolling out anti-TB drugs and diagnostics in countries like India, Nigeria and Myanmar. Even though she was trained and practised as a lawyer, she choose to work in management consulting, improving access to healthcare to emerging markets, and then big tech, working across four continents, over a span of 15 years. She recently co-founded Fig Health, a company that is revolutionising outdated practices by offering affordable and accessible women’s health screenings that can be done from the comfort of one’s home. It is a holistic approach to improving one’s egg and ovulation health, and has created a community of women to lean on throughout their reproductive years.

To quote her:
I am and have always been a firm proponent of access to healthcare. It’s not okay that we have the means to diagnose and treat conditions like PCOS and endometriosis and these are not reaching the women who are suffering and will continue to suffer the consequences of being undiagnosed.”

5. Rachel Lim

Image source: Instagram / ms_rach

Who she is:
Co-Founder of Love-Bonito

Achievements:
Lim is one of the Co-Founders of Love, Bonito, which is a clothing line tailored specially for female Asian shoppers.

Why we admire her:
What started with selling her own pre-loved clothes online, led to the creation of her own fashion line, with clothes specifically tailored for Asian women. A headstrong leader, Lim quit university to focus on building the business, which gathered instant and massive success in the Asian market. As one of Asia’s rising women entrepreneurs, she was part of Forbes’ 30 Under 30s In Asia in 2016, and has even managed to meet with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2020, to discuss everything start-ups.

To quote her:
“We want to go beyond fashion and provide a space to hold workshops, panel discussions and meaningful events that bring women together as well as benefit and empower them.”

6. Diora Henson

Who is she:
General Manager of theAsianparent Singapore

Achievements:
As the General Manager at theAsianparent, Henson has empowered Singaporean mums with the right content at the right time.

Why we admire her:
Prior to becoming the General Manager of theAsianparent, Henson worked as the Head of Brand Solutions at Tickled Media, the largest online content and community platform for women in Asia. A highly passionate and motivated mum herself, Henson is dedicated towards helping pregnant women and new parents raise confident and happy kids through trusted content that is delivered at the right time. She had previously taken on roles of Account Director and Senior Consultant in the APAC region for various media agencies as well as consumer companies including CBS Interactive and Telkom Group. While this busy mum is focussed on helping new parents achieve their life goals, not many know that Henson is also a foodie and loves to whip up delicious meals for her family and friends.

To quote her:
2020 taught me several things and in 2021, I wish to teach my son to be resilient. Resilience is being prepared to overcome and rise to whatever challenges that may arise.”

7. Chin Rui Shan

International Women's Day
International Women's Day

Image source: Gooberr

Who she is:
Founder of Gooberr

Achievements:
Chin Rui Shan is the founder of Gooberr, a home-grown brand that specialises in high-quality lactation products and skincare.

Why we admire her:
A graduate of New York University (NYU) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Masters Degree in Accounting, Rui Shan chose to leave behind a lucrative career in finance to start Gooberr in 2019. The fearless leader wanted to make a difference and help mothers–one product at a time. Her one-of-a-kind products are baked and produced at an SFA Grade A and FSSC Certified Facility. Safe to say that through her line of lactation products and skincare, Rui Shan is making post-pregnancy easier for mums in Singapore.

To quote her:
“I believe more support needs to be given to mums because there’s just so much going on with a new addition to the family.” hat where you grow up and who you’re born to determine how your life evolves.”

8. Zoe Chu

Image source: Instagram / sgsupernanny

Who is she:
Founder of SG Supernanny, Baby, and Adult Sleep Expert at Super Sleep Company Pte Ltd

Achievements:
Chu is the founder of SG Supernanny that provides consultations to parents on getting a baby to sleep well.

Why we admire her:
Being a mother herself and an “ex-mombie,” her experience with sleep deprivation lead her to guide other mummies and daddies with sleep training. She founded SG Supernanny to share her expertise on sleeping with other families struggling with getting the rest they need; and is known for her effective 5-step sleep baby program. Chu also delivers talks and seminars to address common sleep problems. She has even managed to write a book on ways to get your baby to sleep well and peacefully through the night.

To quote her:
I’m passionate about sleep, and that passion drives my mission to help other struggling, and sleep-deprived, families adopt healthy sleep routines; it is possible to get sound sleep with infants and toddlers!”

9. Elaine Kim

Image source: Instagram / elaine_kim

Who is she:
Co-founder and CEO of Trehaus

Achievements:
Kim is one of the Co-founders of Trehaus, Singapore’s first co-working space that is equipped with child-minding and learning facilities.

Why we admire her:
Kim is a medical doctor, entrepreneur, and educator. She is a passionate advocate for involved parenthood alongside career success and is the CEO of Trehaus, an integrated co-lifestyle space for families with a preschool and childcare, office space and family club. Kim is also the co-founder and CEO of CRIB, a social enterprise that empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs through the CRIB Society’s business network, CRIB Match which provides start-ups access to human resource and funding, eg through CRIB Angels Club (a network of investors), and the CRIB EQUIP which provides access to training and mentorship. She also works part-time as a palliative care doctor at St Luke’s Hospital to care for terminally-ill patients and is involved in various charitable causes as well as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Aside from being a medical doctor and entrepreneur, Kim is a mum of three.

To quote her:
Spending time with my children was so precious to me, and I wanted to create a space where you could work and still have your children in your life.”

10. Jenny Tay

Image source: Instagram / jennytay_9909

Who is she:
Managing Director at Direct Funeral Services Pte Ltd

Achievements:
Tay is the Managing Director of Direct Funeral Services (DFS), Co-founder of Direct Life Foundation, and is the Assistant Secretary in the Association of Funeral Directors of Singapore.

Why we admire her:
An advocate for the elderly and the co-founder of non-profit Direct Life Foundation (started 2015), Tay is passionate about helping the needy, all the while managing a successful business. As the Managing Director of DFS her vision was to strive harder at every step of the way. She turned her company’s fortunes around when she joined in 2013, and took the turn over from $2 million to $7 million. Working as a Funeral Director, Tay has come to treasure life more and believes that “a funeral should be a celebration of life and handled with as much professionalism as any other important event.”

To quote her:
“I have always believed that everything is possible in life, so long as you work hard for it.”

11. Jamielene Fernandez

Image source: Facebook / Just Do Lah

Who is she:
Certified Birth Doula and Founder of Just Do-Lah LLP

Achievements:
Fernandez is certified with Childbirth International and founded Just Do-Lah LLP and provides exemplary support to expecting parents.

Why we admire her:
Aspiring to be a source of support and commitment to families she works with, Fernandez is a doula who helps mummies-to-be attain the birth that they want. Through Just Do-Lah, she shares her own personal experiences as a mother and creates a safe space for mothers to reach out to her for support. This happy mother of three free-spirited children always encourages enriching, meaningful and positive conversations.

To quote her:
“I am continuously humbled by every mama and family I meet as they honour me with their love and strength when they allow me to be a part of their birth story.”

12. Fauziah Abbas

Image source: Childbirth Odyssey website

Who is she*:
Certified Doula and Hypnotherapist (HBCE), IAIM

Achievements:
Abbas is a certified Hypnotherapist that specialises in HypnoBirthing.

Why we admire her:
Besides being a certified birth and postpartum doula, Abbas is also a HypnoBirth coach who works to help ease pain and anxiety of mothers during birth. She does so through self-hypnosis, as well as other relaxation techniques. As a hypnotherapist of HypnoBirthing, she is dedicated in providing support to families, by helping them make informed decisions about their overall health and wellbeing. A former teacher, Abbas is on a mission to help mums care better for themselves and their kids.

13. Nurul Aini

Image source: Instagram / aanurul

Who is she:
TV Presenter and Actress for MediaCorp Suria

Achievements:
A popular public figure, she has been awarded Most Popular Female Personality and Best Host (Variety) for MediaCorp.

Why we admire her:
One of the biggest Malay stars, Aini has been involved in many productions in Malaysian and Singapore studio houses. She has been cast in leading roles in narrative serials including Garisan Takdir and Di Pinggir Hati. The award-winning actress began her career in 2002, and has since garnered over 170k followers to her Instagram account. She has also co-founded a few businesses before as an entrepreneur including an online clothing line called, Studiofrost. Outside the limelight, Aini is also a devoted mother of three and happily married to Sofian Roslan.

To quote her:
I always look forward to trying something new.”

14. Dimple Aswani

Image source: Facebook / Dimple Aswani

Who is she:
Director of Royal Group Holdings Pte Ltd

Achievements:
Aswani is the Director of Royal Group Holdings Pte Ltd that owns retail, office, and hotel assets in Singapore.

Why we admire her:
Before becoming the Director at Royal Group Holdings Pte Ltd, Asvani studied Economics and political science at the National University of Singapore. A super mum to her kids, Aaron and Angel, Asvani is known for her eye for details and all things luxury. She was involved in designing the first Sofitel So Singapore alongside Karl Lagerfeld and famously recognised by Singapore Tatler’s Fashion Hall of Fame in 2013, for her impeccable style.

To quote her:
If there’s one thing I’d like to be, it is to be like my parents for my own children.”

15. Dr Meri Rosich

Image source: LinkedIn

Who is she:
Co-Founder of Female Founders and CDO of Standard Chartered Bank

Achievements:
Rosich is the Co-founder of Female Founder, CDO of Standard Chartered Bank and is a UNWomen Ambassador.

Why we admire her:
Not only is Rosich working as a CDO of Standard Chartered Bank, which is a British multinational banking and financial services company that operates a network of more than 1,200 branches and outlets worldwide, but she also co-founded Female Founders along with Roshni Mahtani Cheung, Group CEO and Founder of theAsianparent (Tickled Media Pvt Ltd). Through this, she continues to empower women in their businesses. She is also an AiEthics Professor and is a UNWomen Ambassador.

16. Dr Jade Kua

Image source: Instagram / drjadekua

Who is she:
Paediatric Emergency Specialist, President of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) and Director of the Dispatcher-Assisted First Responder (DARE)

Achievements:
Dr Kua established her life coaching Jade Life and Wellness to help others heal and achieve their goals.

Why we admire her:
Aside from being a healthcare professional, Dr Kua works as a Life Coach and is dedicated to healing others. After discovering ways to help people other than through medicine, she used these techniques to help clients lead a more accomplished life. She has been accorded the associate certified coach accredited by the International Coaching Federation. Along with her coaching sessions, she works as senior consultant at the Department of Emergency Medicine of Woodlands Health Campus. A mentor to young doctors, she also has YouTube channel where she teaches emergency medical responses. And outside of her professional field, Jade is a nurturing mother of three teenagers.

To quote her:
Allowing them the opportunity to gain insights about themselves and understanding why their goals are important to them is how an individual can meaningfully make a change.”

17. Sabrina Tan

Image source: Facebook / Skin Inc – Skin Supplement Bar

Who is she:
Founder and CEO of Skin Inc

Achievements:
Tan is the Founder and CEO of Skin Inc that offers customisable skincare.

Why we admire her:
As a working mother, Sabrina knew the struggles of juggling work-life, caring for her kids, and wanting to maintain healthy skin. So in order to help not only herself but also other busy mums, she started her own high-tech skincare line. This innovative skincare line offers its customers a chance to take care of their skin–anytime at anywhere. Skin Inc has won more than 100 beauty awards and is sold worldwide in over 78 cities in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

To quote her:
“I thought, if I had a product that could brighten, hydrate and help with anti-aging, that would be fantastic. That was how I came up with the idea of the My Daily Dose customised serums where by mixing the ingredients in a bottle, you can simply apply one product and achieve multiple skincare goals.”

18. Charlotte Nors

Image source: Facebook / Charlotte Nors

Who is she:
Managing Director of Singapore Repertory Theatre

Achievements:
Nors is the Managing Director of Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT), which is a non-profit organisation in Singapore that aims to increase the love of theatre and arts among young citizens.

Why we admire her:
For over 20 years, Nors has been passionately ensuring that SRT continues to produce theatre and learning programmes for young audiences. She is equally motivated in using the arts as a “powerful force for good” to support underprivileged children and families through their educational programmes as well as community initiatives. Nors graduated from the DeVos Institute’s International Arts Management Fellowship programme at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. She is also a volunteer with Mentoring Women In Business Protégé and is an advisor to Playeum which is the Child’s Center for Creativity.

To quote her:
Whilst I’m worried about the plethora of content competing for our time, I’m hopeful that people will always seek human interaction and that good storytelling will prevail.”

19. Anna Ico Tingzon

International Women's Day
International Women's Day

Image source: 21 Extra Goodness

Who is she:
Marketing Lead for a resort and Founder of 21 Extra Goodness

Achievements:
Tingzon is the founder of 21 Extra Goodness, a home-based business that aims to spread more awareness about Down syndrome.

Why we admire her:
Raising her daughter Marian made Tingzon want to help and give back to other parents who were also raising kids with Down syndrome. With 21 Extra Goodness, she is able to create a platform to raise more awareness as well as promote inclusivity in children with special needs. Her social venture sells homemade Filipino dishes to locals and the proceeds go to the Down Syndrome Association in Singapore. For World Down Syndrome Day in 2021, she is also planning a “Bag of Goodness” campaign where she’ll be donating hampers to new mothers with babies who have Down syndrome.

To quote her:
While raising Marian, I realised that my life’s purpose is to create social awareness and promote inclusivity in children with special needs.”

20. Dr Lee Bee Wah

International Women's Day
International Women's Day

Image source: National University Hospital website

Who is she:
Consultant Paediatrician, Clinical Paediatric Immunologist/Allergist, Adjunct Associate Professor and a Visiting Senior Consultant Paediatrician

Achievements:
Dr Wah is a Consultant Paediatrician at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre and has won Outstanding University Researcher Award, NUS in 1999.

Why we admire her:
Specialising in the areas of allergy diseases in children and clinical paediatric immunology, Dr Wah was a member of the Board Directors of the World Allergy Organisation between 2005 and 2009. She was also the Past President of the Asia Pacific Association of Pediatric Allergy, Respirology and Immunology from 2006 to 2008, and Past President of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Society in Singapore from 2012 to 2013. Aside from being a Consultant Paediatrician at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, she is also an Adjunct Associate Professor (Department of Paediatrics) at the National University of Singapore and has even managed to publish over 200 research articles in peer-viewed journals. Her other special interests include Allergen characterisation, dust mite allergens, Probiotics preventing allergic diseases and Childhood vaccines.*

Not only are these women an inspiration to other women, they are also making a huge impact in the lives of young parents and kids, alike. We salute them!

Also read: Empowering Quotes For Women

(*Quote unavailable)

The post International Women’s Day 2021: 20 Marvellous Women Who #ChooseToChallenge appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.

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