Influential South Asian Women

This week, Aleena Azam (Year 7), guest writes on the Headmistress blog about her influential South Asian Women.

Matisha Joshi (Lead Ambassador of the South Asian Society at BGS)

In the lead up and during South Asian Heritage Month, we want to shine the spotlight on some important female figures within South Asia, who have defied stereotypes to make the lives of thousands of people across the world better. The last few years, we have seen South Asians come into power, especially in some of the major governments across the world. The actions of these individuals constantly inspire us to strive to be the best that we can be, as well as being role models to those that come after us. We hope you enjoy reading Aleena’s article about influential South Asian Women below.

Written by Aleena Azam (Year 7) (Member of the South Asian Society)

There are many influential South Asian women both in history and in today’s society. One of the most inspirational women is Malala Yousafzai who is a women’s rights activist. She was born in Pakistan where the Taliban took control of her valley. She announced on TV that it was unfair how the Taliban were closing schools for girls because they didn’t want women to be powerful. A few days later Malala got onto the bus for school and two Taliban stopped the bus asking where she was and she was fired by guns, hitting her head. She was then rushed to hospital however Malala stayed strong and powerful and fought until the end. She is the youngest person to recieve a Nobel Peace prize. She inspires me because she didn’t give up and shows other women to continue being bold and brave no matter what others tell them. 

Another influential woman is Kamala Harris. She is the first Indian/American Vice President of the United States of America. She is a lawyer and politician who was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. Senator. Her father was from Jamaica and her mother was from India, they were both immigrants. Harris also gained a reputation of being extremely tough as she prosecuted cases of gang violence and other major crimes. There was also a time where Rep. Tulsi Gabbard challenged Sen. Kamala Harris’ record while serving as attorney general of California. Harris responded to Gabbard’s claims and said she was proud of making a decision to not make fancy speeches and to use her position to reform a system that is badly in need of reform. She inspires many people to not let being an ethnic minority or woman stop you from following your dreams. 

Sirimavo Bandaranaike was prime minister three times and was the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. She was the first female to be elected head of government in the world; this happened in 1960! She wanted the government to follow socialist policies. She also encouraged Buddhism and carried out a law that made Sinhalese the only official language of the country. In 1994, her daughter Chandrika Bandaranaike became president and appointed her mother prime minister after her mother was banned from the political office in 1980. Bandranaike resigned in August 2000, the same year she passed away from a heart attack in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her story still lives on and her and her daughter continue to inspire others to keep trying and making the world a better place for us all. 

These women are not the only influential South Asian people as there are many others who are helping change the world in their own special ways. I hope you enjoyed this article about inspirational South Asian women.

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