The old saying goes, “The Hand That Swings the Cradle Can Shake the World”.
Here’s a list of Malaysian women trailblazers who prove that to be true.
1. Tengku Maimun
Let’s start with a woman who just made history this week, as Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat became the first female Chief Justice in Malaysia.
At only 59 years old, she is also considered as one of the youngest to hold the position.
Originally from Kelantan, she has worked all around Malaysia before reaching this stage.
2. Wan Azizah
Next up, is our former Deputy Prime Minister.
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is a medical doctor who kept her family and political party together when her husband, former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was behind bars.
Dr Wan Azizah is the epitome of perseverance, and always wears a sweet smile on her face.
3. Nicole David
Datuk Nicol Ann David’s abilities in the squash court has made her an 8 time squash world champion.
Her mental strength keeps her focused on the game, and on her goals. Her consistency and relentless 6 days-a-week training has made her the most successful woman squash player of all time.
Giving back to the society, Nicol plans to set up a squash academy of her own, to breed a new generation of world number ones.
4. Zeti Aziz
Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz is a qualified economist graduate of University of Malaya from a time when not many Malays, nor females were at university.
During the peak of the Asian financial crisis in 1998, Zeti was appointed as the acting Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Two years later, she assumed the role as governor, steered our economy out of recession and watched it thrive during her term.
Being the first female governor for BNM, she maintained her post successfully for 16 years.
5. Patricia Yapp
Major Patricia Yapp Syan Yin is Asia’s first female MiG-29 fighter pilot for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and a mother of two.
Born and raised in Sandakan, Sabah, she initially came to Kuala Lumpur to further her studies in law, but knew her calling was in the skies.
Yuna, short for Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, is not only well known for her songs but also known for her iconic headgear; the turban.
Originally using music as an outlet of creativity during her law school days, she has now become a Billboard chart topper.
Better yet, her latest single Furthermore is set in Malaysia and has already gotten more than 1 million views on YouTube.
7. Ambiga Sreenevasan
Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan was once the president of the Malaysian Bar Council and is still a prominent Malaysian lawyer for human rights.
She is admired by not only Malaysians, but also by the world, for her stance on human rights. She’s a recipient of the 2018 United Nations Award in recognition of her contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United States has even recognised her efforts and awarded her the U.S. Secretary of State Award for International Women of Courage 2009.
8. Vivy Yusof
This straight A London Law graduate, initially made famous by her blog Proudduck, she is now a fashion mogul.
Not only is she one of Malaysia’s leading fashion icons, she is also the co-founder of the Fashion Valet empire which curates local fashion pieces. She has successfully built a platform for Malaysian brands to launch themselves into the public eye and the world.
Her hijabs are sold out in a matter of minutes whenever they launch, and set a benchmark for scarves globally.