One of the patterns that has emerged over the past year is the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women throughout the world. The she-cession has not only seen more women lose their jobs but also worsened gender inequality.
For International Women’s Day this year, we are joining the #choosetochallenge call by celebrating the achievements of women social entrepreneurs. Here are five Asean sheroes finding their own strength in adversity.
When the pandemic put a stop to tourism, Shyam (main photo) faced a quandary. Her social enterprise, Yellow House, offered walking tours in Kuala Lumpur by guides from vulnerable backgrounds. Shyam pivoted to training the urban poor to set up their own pocket farms. Her pilot project has not only enabled 20 families (and growing) to secure their own food supply but helped them create an alternate source of income.
Ina Fadhilah Nizar
Former diplomatic officer Ina started her social enterprise, JEiWA Global Resources to support women from low income households in Malaysia’s southernmost state. The result of her efforts are beautiful tiffins hand-painted by women adversely impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns, that have been flying off our Destination GOOD
Patcharaporn Pansuwan (Neung)
Bangkok-based programmer Neung bucks the trend against women in STEM fields as co-founder of tech social enterprise Opendream. Early in 2020, Opendream met urgent contact-tracing needs in Thailand by partnering with the Thai CDC and Ministry of Health to develop the Sabaidee app to enable participatory symptom reporting and manage hospital onboarding of patients.
Reese (left in photo) is already an icon in the world of ASEAN social entrepreneurship with Rags2Riches and she has gone on to up the game. To expand opportunities for her women seamstresses, Reese inked a deal with furniture behemoth IKEA to be the latter’s official sewing partner when its first store opens in the Philippines later this year.
Taking the mantle of women supporting women to heart, social enterprise Angels of Impact, founded by Laina, kicked off 2021 by launching the ASEAN Women Impacting Social Entrepreneurship (WISE) fellowship to provide year-long incubation and consulting for 20 women-led enterprises in the region.
Follow our social channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for updates as AirAsia Foundation has also signed on as partner to ASEAN WISE!
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