Asian women, throughout history, have been breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations. They have faced unique challenges and obstacles. From politics and activism to entertainment and science, Asian women have made significant contributions to society and continue to inspire us with their achievements. This article will introduce you to 10 inspirational Asian women who have overcome barriers and achieved remarkable success in their respective fields.
Vivian, Your rich Bff
Vivian Tu is the daughter of immigrants who worked for everything they had. Graduating from The University of Chicago with a degree in Environmental Studies and Public Policy with an emphasis in finance. She began her Wall Street career as a trader for JP Morgan. There she learned how to get her finances in order from her mentor and the only other woman on the team, her boss. Fast forward to a pandemic, and Vivan wasn’t happy with all the false financial advice that was flying around hindering those trying to make ends meet. Thus the influencer was born. She then decided to provide free financial literacy in bite-size pieces on the socials. Let me tell you, I’ve learned quite a few things from her page, and I’m better off for it. Please do yourself a favor and follow her.
Many of you may know her husband, Jay Shetty, but I assure you Radhi Devlikia makes her own waves. This food lover completed her Ayurvedic Health Counsellor degree with California College of Ayurveda, and she’s excited to share all the knowledge with us. Conscious cooking is deeply ingrained into her process, and as she continues to build her conscious community, she graces us with great vegan recipes and mindful thoughts. And just for clarification, she’s not claiming to be a chef. She adores food and bringing people together. This is her way of sharing love.
Yuna – Singer
If good music is what you’re looking for, then Yunalis binti Mat Zara’ai, aka “Yuna,” will take care of this. This Malaysian singer who blew up off of Myspace (anyone remembers this platform?) has a soft sultry voice that can whoo you. She’s been making music actively since 2006, so she’s got a lot of skin in the game. She even recently dropped an album “Y5”.
Chloé Zhao – Director
Chloé Zhao is a Chinese filmmaker known for her unique storytelling style and visually stunning films. Born in Beijing in 1982, Zhao moved to the United States to attend school at age 15. She went on to study political science at Mount Holyoke College and film production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Zhao’s films often explore the lives of people living on the fringes of society, and she has a talent for capturing the beauty and humanity in their struggles. In 2021, she became the first woman of color to win the Academy Award for Best Director for her film “Nomadland.” And for those who like MCU references she’s also directed The Eternals.
Chloe Kim – Snowboarder
Chloe Kim is an absolute boss on the snowboard. Her Korean immigrant parents raised her in Torrance, California, and she began snowboarding at four. Kim made history at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, becoming the youngest woman ever to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal. She has also won multiple X Games gold medals and has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Kim is known for her innovative and fearless snowboarding style and for her advocacy for greater diversity and inclusion in the sport. With her skill, charm, and undeniable talent, Chloe Kim is one to watch in the snowboarding world and beyond!
Kristi Yamaguchi – Figure Skater
We’re taking it back to the first Asian woman ever to win Olympic gold. Kristi Yamaguchi is a retired American figure skater who became a household name after winning the gold medal in ladies’ singles at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Born and raised in California, Kristi started skating at a young age and quickly became known for her technical skill and artistry. In addition to her Olympic victory, she also won two World Figure Skating Championships and a US Figure Skating Championship. After retiring from competitive skating, Kristi became a successful author, philanthropist, and television personality, and she remains a beloved figure in the world of figure skating and beyond.
Business/ Tech/ Science
Tu Youyou – Scientist
Tu Youyou is a renowned Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and educator. She was born on December 30, 1930, in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China. Best known for discovering artemisinin, a compound effective in treating malaria. She made this breakthrough in the 1970s, during the Vietnam War, after being tasked with finding a cure. Her discovery has saved countless lives, and she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for her contributions to medicine. Tu is the first Asian (Chinese) woman to receive the Nobel Prize in any category, and her work has earned her numerous other honors and accolades throughout her career.
Melanie Perkins- CEO/Co-founder of Canva
Melanie Perkins is the daughter of an Australian-born teacher and a Malaysian engineer of Filipino and Sri Lankan descent. While enrolled at the University of Western Australia, majoring in communications, psychology, and commerce. Perkins was also a private tutor for students learning graphic design. She noticed students’ difficulties in learning design programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Perkins thought there was a business opportunity to make the design process easier. She conceived the idea of creating a design platform that did not require any technical experience. She dropped out of university at age 19 to pursue her first business with Cliff Obrecht, Which eventually morphed into Canva. Now She’s an Australian billionaire technology entrepreneur, the chief executive officer, and co-founder of Canva. Perkins is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech start-up valued at over A$1 billion. As of May 2021, Perkins was one of Australia’s wealthiest women.
Vandana Shiva – Activist
Vandana Shiva, an Indian scholar, environmental activist, and author, has globally recognized work in agriculture, food sovereignty, and women’s rights. Born on November 5, 1952, in the Doon Valley in northern India, Shiva received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, which promotes sustainable agriculture and biodiversity protection. Shiva has also written several books, including “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development” and “Monocultures of the Mind,” which critique the effects of industrial agriculture on small farmers and the environment. Numerous organizations have recognized Shiva for her work, including the Right Livelihood Award, which is also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.
Priscilla Chan – Philanthropist
Priscilla Chan is an American philanthropist and pediatrician. Chan is the daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the United States in the 1970s. Graduating from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, she attended medical school at the University of California. While completing her residency in pediatrics, Chan met Zuckerberg, and the two began dating. Chan and Zuckerberg announced the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization focused on “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” As co-founder and co-CEO of the initiative, Chan has been a vocal advocate for education and healthcare reform. She also supports initiatives to increase diversity in the tech industry by backing organizations that assist underrepresented groups.