By Tham Keng Yin
For ages, the social status of women has been suppressed. There has always been an existential gap between female and their male counter parts. To an extent, even till today, in certain countries, a female is viewed as a male’s property.
In conservative countries, women are not even allowed to be alone on the streets without a male by their side, they are deprived of an education, they are forbidden from driving, or from getting a driver’s license. In Malaysia, women are generally treated as equals.
Women of this era have achieved remarkable success. They have come far and beyond over the years, and can now stand tall and have equal opportunities.
Here are some inspiring female leaders of our times:
US Vice President Kamala Harris is the first female, first Black, first Indian-America and first Asian vice president of the US. She started her career as a lawyer after earning her law degree at the University of California. With hard work, she became top prosecutor of San Francisco, and later became the first woman and first ‘person of colour’ to serve as California’s Attorney General in 2010.2 Despite all odds, she indeed made many “first” in US history.
If you read the book “Harry Potter”, you will be familiar with its author, Joanne Rowling or commonly known as J.K. Rowling. She is a proud author, and first billionaire who earned through her writing. However, her success has never been easy. Her mother died when she was in her teens, she got married and divorced with a new-born in tow, became jobless, she went into depression and even considered committing suicide. Her book was rejected by most publishers.3 But with her dedication, patience, and focus, she eventually made through her brilliant writings.
“We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling
Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond
Just like any other industry, the English courts and judiciary were dominated by white men. Brenda Hale or Lady Hale became UK’s first female Law Lord and subsequently President of the Supreme Court (the highest court of UK). Her motto is “Omnia feminae aequissimae”, or “women are equal to everything”. She created history in a male dominated industry, nothing close to this kind of success would have been achieved had she not believed in herself. It was this sheer determination that eventually led her to the Supreme Court.
She is a Malaysian actress that made her country proud by bringing Malaysia to the world stage. You might know her from the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” playing the role of the mean mother. Born in Perak, Michelle achieved fame through Hong Kong action films, where she performed her own stunts. She is one of Asia’s highest paid actresses, and is now starring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing the aunt of Shang Chi in the movie Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.
The success stories above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more awe-inspiring female figures – Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Malala Yousafzai, Marie Curie, Michelle Obama, Greta Thunberg, Maya Angelou, and the list goes on.
This just goes to show that gender should not be a hindrance to what you want to achieve in life. You only need to believe in yourself, and the cause you stand for.