In her speech on women and mental health in the year 1993, Princess Diana said, “Each person is born with very individual qualities and potential. We as a society owe it to women to create a truly supportive environment in which they too can grow and move forward.”
Almost three decades later, her statement resonates with society more than ever. It took a woman to stand by a man to throw over a globally despised world leader from his office. It took a woman in a leadership role to make a country Covid free in the southern hemisphere. It took a woman to challenge one of the most powerful leaders in the world, in a state-level election where the ruling party at the centre had to put its best minds forward to compete with her legacy. It took a young woman activist and a pop icon to shake the very ground on which a democracy continues to debate over its grain-Gods. It took a woman (of course) to uproot sexual predators across the globe in various countries to make TimesUp and MeToo successful movements.
When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos divorced his wife, she received a whopping alimony, not just because she was legally entitled to get it, but because she was also an integral part of his journey in making Amazon a global e-commerce giant. “I was there when he wrote the business plan, and I worked with him and many others […] in the converted garage, the basement warehouse closet, the barbecue-scented offices, the Christmas-rush distribution centers, and the door-desk filled conference rooms in the early years of Amazon’s history,” MacKenzie Bezos wrote in an Amazon review of the book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.
Women who choose to challenge the status quo, have time and again revolutionised workplaces, homes, societies and the lives of fellow women. Many have been breadwinners even before the pandemic for hundreds of years. There may be higher walls and taller ladders that women still have to climb to reach at the top, but in 2021, there are women who are thriving to build longer tables, so that women can also get a seat and a chance to become decision makers.
In our special coverage on International Women’s Day 2021, Asian Voice brings you eight powerful female voices from around the UK who have persevered to make our society better. From the CEO at The Runnymede Trust, to the Chief People Officer at NHS, pioneering voices in art and culture to the Chair of KPMG's Emerging Giants Centre of Excellence in the UK, one of the most sort after women MPs in the UK Parliament and scintillating minds in journalism and PR, here are eight exclusive interviews with women who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments by choosing to challenge.