Women are setting industry standards and paving the way for the future in various fields of works. Many women have contributed to Malaysia in so many ways and made history in their respective fields, especially in male-dominated ones. These iconic women prove that if you work hard enough to achieve your goals, you can do everything you’ve ever dreamed of and beyond.
We have listed down six badass Malaysian women who have been inspiring everyone across the globe!
1. Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr. Mazlan Othman
Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman proves that the sky is not the limit. She’s Malaysia’s very first astrophysicist and one of the leading authority of astrophysics in the world. Prof Mazlan Othman was the first woman to graduate from the University of Otago with a PhD in Physics.
She was appointed as the Director of the UN Office For Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) not just once but twice. Back in 2007, she spearheaded the efforts in sending our very first astronaut into the International Space Station when she led the National Astronaut Programme. She’s contributed so much to the astrophysics industry and brought Malaysia’s name to the stars!
2. Hannah Yeoh
Hannah Yeoh is no stranger to women in the country. She is Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development who is a fearless and outspoken leader. She’s the first female speaker and the youngest member of any legislative body in Malaysia when she became a speaker at the Selangor State Legislative Assembly.
Now, she’s on a mission to help single moms in providing a safe avenue and also to reduce the rates of baby dumping. Thank you Hannah Yeoh for making Malaysia a better place to stay.
3. Dr. Nur Amalina Che Bakri
Dr Nur Amalina Che Bakri is our proudest icon. She had once made a huge wave when scoring an inspiring number of 17 1As for SPM back in 2004. Sponsored by Bank Negara, she graduated as a doctor from the University of Edinburgh. Recently, she helped cancer-stricken baby Ainul Mardhiah flew to London to receive special medical treatment. Thanks to the power of social media, the adorable baby is given a second chance to live like a normal baby.
Besides kicking off her duty as a surgeon, Dr Amalina has a superb sense of style. She inspires every Malaysian girl that your career can’t stop you from doing things that you love the most and that includes running errands in heels.
4. Ivy Josiah
A pioneer of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) in Malaysia, Ivy first joined WAO as a volunteer. She was eventually appointed as the executive director for 19 years. This championed woman leads WAO’s efforts in providing shelter for battered women, advocates for policy reform for those that affect women and educates the public on violence against women.
One thing about her is, she doesn’t accept the things that she can’t change. She works hard to make changes that are needed in our nation. After retiring from WAO, she continues to volunteer with the organisation while serving as a committee member for the National Human Rights Society.
Come one, who doesn’t know who is Yunalis Zaraai or better known as Yuna. She’s a Malaysian pop star who is doing a great job in promoting Malaysia songs to the world. Our homegrown songbird is famous for her breakout single with Usher, ‘Crush’ and the latest single is with G-Eazy. Based in Los Angeles, her songs have topped the Billboard charts and won incredible accolades worldwide.
Another milestone is she’s collaborating with Korean hip-hop group Epic High. A Muslim girl wearing hijab who breaks into every segment of the music industry – well Yuna is obviously making us proud. That’s our girl!
6. Dr Betty Sim Kim Lee
Perhaps not many recognise Dr Betty but she is indeed just as amazing as all the ladies here. An alumnus of UM and an expert of her field, she led the team that developed the world’s first attenuated sporozoite – malaria vaccine, PfSPZ Vaccine. She saved the world from malaria.
Graduated with First Class Honours in Physiology and a masters in Physiology from UM, she did her PhD at the Department of Malaria and Filariasis at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) under the WHO Tropical Disease Research scholarship.
Let’s be inspired by them and continue to strive for a better gender-balanced world. Which female icon inspires you every day?