Credit by Swietenia Puspa Lestari © detikcom
7 Southeast Asians on BBC's 100 Women of 2019 List

7 Southeast Asians on BBC's 100 Women of 2019 List

The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019. 

This year 100 Women is asking: what would the future look like if it were driven by women? The BBC's 100 Women list features girls and women aged 15 to 98 from more than 50 countries.

From climate change activist Greta Thunberg, to trans woman Nisha Ayub who was put into a male prison aged 21, many on the list are driving change on behalf of women everywhere. They give us their vision of what life could look like in 2030.

Others, such as the "ghost" politician defying the mafia, and the footballer battling misogyny, are using their extraordinary personal experiences to blaze a path for those who follow.

And here are the 7 Southeast Asian women who were included:

1. Swietenia Puspa Lestari - Indonesia

Swietenia Puspa Lestari - Indonesia. Image:
Swietenia Puspa Lestari - Indonesia. Image:

Swietenia founded the Divers Clean Action Foundation to clear marine debris in Indonesia. They now have 1,500 volunteers working across the island nation and South East Asia.

She also initiated the #nostrawmovement campaign in the country, which saw the reduction of single-use plastic straws in more than 700 restaurants.

2. Nisha Ayub - Malaysia

She has been a tireless advocate for the rights of transgender people in Malaysia, co-founding SEED - the country's first ever trans-led organisation - and creating T-Home, which addresses the issue of homelessness for older trans women who are left without family support. She was awarded the US International Women of Courage award in 2016 for her work.

3. Maria Ressa - Philippines

Maria Ressa - Philippines. Image: Rappler
Maria Ressa - Philippines. Image: Rappler

Maria Ressa is an award-winning journalist from the Philippines who set up website Rappler to expose fake news.

She has received rape and death threats online for being an outspoken critic of President Duterte's violent war on drugs, and has been arrested twice this year accused of 'cyber libel'. Ms Ressa is being represented by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

4. Sister Gerard Fernandez - Singapore

Sister Gerard Fernandez - Singapore. Image: The Straits Times
Sister Gerard Fernandez - Singapore. Image: The Straits Times

Sister Gerard is a Roman Catholic nun in Singapore, who worked for three decades as a death row counsellor.

Now 81, she has "walked with" 18 inmates before their deaths, describing her calling as helping "people who are broken".

5. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni - Thailand

Buddhism is Thailand's most common religion, with some 300,000 Buddhist monks. But female monks - known as bhikkhunis - aren't recognised, and are banned from being ordained on Thai soil.

So in 2003, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni flew to Sri Lanka to be ordained, and returned as Thailand's first female monk. There are now 100 others like her. She is abbess of Songdhammakalyani - the country's first ever all-female Buddhist monastery.

6. Van Thi Nguyen - Vietnam

Van Thi Nguyen - Vietnam. Image: InDaily
Van Thi Nguyen - Vietnam. Image: InDaily

Van is co-founder of the Will to Live Center, which provides training for disabled people in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi.

Her aim is to create an equal working environment for all. She also runs social enterprise Imagator, which employs 80 people, half of whom have a disability.

7. Trang Nguyen - Vietnam

Trang Nguyen grew up in Vietnam, confronted from a young age with monkeys chained up for sale on the streets and bears held to extract bile for traditional medicine. So she obtained a PhD in Biodiversity Management, and set up WildAct, a non-profit organisation which helps authorities monitor illegal wildlife trade markets.

In 2018, it launched the country's first ever master's course in Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade, to help train the next generation of conservationists.

Source : Mashable | BBC


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