Women who are making a difference

Women who are making a difference

Sunday, March 8, marked International Women's Day, so the Young Post team compiled its list of the top 10 women making a difference for girls and women in Hong Kong and around the world

We don't expect Forbes to announce their 100 Most Powerful Women for a few months, so for International Women's Day, here's Young Post's list of the females who we think run the world.

Emma Watson has known fame from a young age, but she hasn't let the success go to her head, and remains humble.

At only 24, she's been appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. An inspiring advocate for women's rights, Watson also leads the HeForShe campaign, which strives for gender equality. (Tune in to her live chat on the subject on her Facebook page at 1am tonight.)

As if that wasn't enough, she was Hermione in Harry Potter, proving that being clever (and magical) is definitely cool.

It takes a lot of confidence and self-belief to say, "many in this world are not okay with who I am, but that doesn't make me a bad person", and then laugh about it. TV show host, actor and advocate for gender equality and LGBT rights, Ellen DeGeneres is a great role model for staying true to who you are and getting back on your feet every time the world tries to knock you down. Also, she likes cats.

Christiane Amanpour, the brilliantly clever, stylish and graceful CNN correspondent, even under fire, has brought us news from the Gulf war, Bosnia, Somalia; interviewed presidents and CEOs; and always brought meaningful insight to her stories.

Above all she is a great journalist: determined, forthright and able to push for answers from the most evasive interviewees. We like that fact that she doesn't try to ambush politicians on the sidelines like so many journalists do in the hope they'll say something controversial, but gives them time to explain themselves and their decisions.

Young Post's picks for the top five women who are running the world

South Korean President Park Guen-hye is the most powerful woman in East Asia (and Forbes' 11th most powerful in the world!), and broke a long-standing trend by becoming the first female president of Korea. Though her popularity has been on the decline since last year's ferry tragedy, she's still a reminder for women, especially in patriarchal Korea, that they, too, can hold the world's most demanding jobs.

You might not have heard of Kshama Sawant, but she's an inspiration to anyone who supported Occupy Central. Sawant was involved in the Occupy movement in the US city of Seattle. But since then she's been elected to Seattle's city council, and campaigns to give the city's poor a better life, showing how the women of the Occupy protests are already changing the world for the better.

Whatever your political views, there's no denying that Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok is a model for girls trying to stand up for what they believe in. The 21-year-old was a key student leader during the Umbrella Movement, and the only female to represent the Hong Kong Federation of Students in the talks with government representatives.

She's got sharp wits and sharper words, outperforming Hong Kong's top guns. Although she makes it clear she hates being in the spotlight, the media can't resist asking for her political opinions.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is known for that hairstyle and for becoming a YouTube sensation after her famous fall at the Sha Tin Che Kung Temple at Lunar New Year. Mockery aside, her hints that she may stand in the chief executive elections in 2017 aren't entirely unwelcome - she's still in Beijing's good books, but by responding to Leung Chun-ying's statements on Occupy Central by saying "There are many ways to express your view. A way can be regarded as successful if no one feels offended …", she's still in Hongkongers' not-bad books.

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration. For daring to challenge the ruling military government, she spent 15 years under house arrest, during which time she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was released in 2012 and has since become a member of the Burmese House of Representatives. She is a wonderful example of someone who refuses to give up, no matter what people tell her she can or cannot say or do.

Our readers' top choices for their favourite women from history

Fashion and accessories designer Prudence Mak started from nothing. She couldn't find a job as an artist after university, so started her Chocolate Rain brand, bringing her adorable products to every corner of Hong Kong and inspiring young entrepreneurs.

The first woman and the first ethnic Chinese to take Hong Kong's second most powerful government job, Anson Chan Fang On-sang has long proven that women can be just as successful as men.

A long-time advocate of press freedom and democracy, Chan's quiet, poised approach to dealing with issues is a reminder that getting things done doesn't require brute force, but rather commitment and grace.

Who are your female role models? Tweet us @youngposthk with the hashtag #YPgirlpower

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Making a difference


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