Today, we are celebrating the accomplishments of all the strong and diverse women around the world! It is also a global event where we are not only recognizing women’s achievements, but also calling for gender equality (though I personally feel this should be happening everyday). I am sharing below the stories of 4 extraordinary women that made a global impact to society, inspiring and paving the way for generations of young ladies to come.
Man or woman, who doesn’t want to have the title President and CFO of PepsiCo. on their business card?? This powerhouse position currently belongs to Indra Nooyi, whose impressive career in the corporate world is one to envy. Indra is quite the dealmaker and was involved in the biggest food deals in corporate history when PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats for $14 billion. Ranked #14 on Forbes’ The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list just last year, PepsiCo’s annual net profit rose from $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion since she came on board as its CFO in 2001. What I admire most about her is her commitment to excellence and achievement in her long journey to becoming an influential female executive in a male-dominated sector. One of the things that stuck with me when I first read about Indra years back was when I read that she wore a sari to a job interview for a prestigious business consulting firm because she couldn’t afford a suit. She got the job. Out of the many other candidates I’m sure the firm had seen, Indra not only convinced them why she deserves the position, she must have also displayed a strong sense of self and really believed in herself for the interviewer(s) to look beyond her sari. You can be yourself, even if you’re different from the majority, and still gain and command respect.
Devoted mother. Advocate for healthy eating and women. Accomplished lawyer. And of course, how can we forget her role as the 44th first lady of the United States? Is there anything this role model from the South side of Chicago can’t do? As first lady, she focused her attention and initiatives geared towards social issues including poverty, healthy living, and education. She kickstarted the initiative Let’s Move! to combat childhood obesity. Her effortless ability to energize a large crowd with a rousing and memorable convention speech, to switching gears and showing her fun side doing a dance-off with Jimmy Fallon is both admirable and refreshing. Simply put, she’s someone everyone wants to be friends with. At least for me anyway.
Malala Yousafzai is perhaps the bravest young woman I’ve recently come across in articles this past year. As a child, Malala championed the power of education and demanded girls be allowed to receive an education in Pakistan. Unfortunately, her activism drew the attention of the Taliban, which resulted in an attempt on her life when she was just 15. Despite this horrific event, she remains a staunch advocate for the importance of education for girls globally, and later became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17. We should all be inspired by her struggles and unwavering commitment…and may I add that she is fighting for something that many of us here take for granted.
Film and fashion icon. Humanitarian. Givenchy Muse. And enjoyed eating breakfast at Tiffany’s. =) This beautiful lady holds a special place in my heart. She has long been someone whom I’ve greatly admired for her timeless elegance and grace. Out of everybody I could’ve given my high school presentation on, I chose Audrey Hepburn as my inspiring icon. Ever since I watched My Fair Lady for the first time as a kid, like so many others, I was struck by her beauty and elegance. (I think I naturally gravitate to people like her, which probably explains why I’m also such a big fan of Kate Middleton). She strikes me as someone who really lived life to the fullest, from her impressive entertainment career (she was an EGOT winner – Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and Tony) and later, her many inspiring accomplishments working with children on behalf of UNICEF until her death in 1993. Though she passed for well over a decade, she is still remembered for her tireless work as a humanitarian and her classic style. My favorite outfit of hers is not her iconic glam outfit she wore sipping coffee outside Tiffany’s, but rather, her very simple ensemble that consisted of just a black turtleneck, black cropped pants, and black flats.