International Women’s Day 2021: Our sheroes, from Kamala Harris to Hong Kong’s Eman Lam

  • March 8 is a day to celebrate the achievements of females around the world
  • 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but here are some of the women who defied expectations regardless
YP Team |

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Who is YOUR shero of the last year?

Today is International Women’s Day, when we celebrate what amazing things women have done.

In honour of the day, Team YP chose to write about one of the special women they admired, and what they have achieved in the last year.

Here are our picks.

Naomi Osaka - Amalissa Hall

Naomi Osaka. Raw power. Photo: Kyodo
Naomi Osaka is incredibly talented but extremely humble about it. She is raw power and can serve a ball at 200km per hour. She recently won the Australian open, and did so by beating her idol, Serena Williams, in the semi-finals.

This is now her fourth Grand Slam title. She has said that playing during the pandemic has actually made her mentally stronger.

When she speaks in public she is charming yet awkward. It’s so inspiring to see a strong athlete and thoughtful activist, who also likes witty humour and video games. She is very relatable.

Naomi Osaka, Barack Obama, BTS star Jungkook, and other celebrities born in the Year of the Ox

Kathrin Jansen - Doris Wai

Dr Jansen oversees vaccine research. Photo: Pfizer
Covid-19 is far from over, but perhaps we are one tiny step closer to the day when we can finally go about our days without masks and hand sanitisers, thanks to vaccines.

One of the people who deserves a lot of recognition is Kathrin Jansen. She is the head of vaccine research and development at the chemical Pfizer. She led a team of experts to develop what’s now known as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Talk about changing the world.

If you could get the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow, would you?

Jacinda Ardern - Susan Ramsay

After her landslide election win, Ardern definitely had reason to smile! Photo: AFP
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won her country’s election last October by a landslide. It gave her a second term in office where she continued to do a very good job at handling Covid-19.

When she first came to power in 2017, she was the world’s youngest female leader of a nation in modern times.

She became the second national leader to have a baby, her daughter Neve, while in office. The first was Pakistan’s late leader Benazir Bhutto. Ardern made a massive statement by taking little Neve with her to address the United Nations.

Only 5 per cent of the world’s leaders are women, and this one is a gem.

Be inspired by trailblazing women in traditional “men’s jobs” who are here to slay

Jojo Siwa and AOC - Dannie Higginbotham

YouTuber JoJo Siwa is living her truth. Photo: IG / @itsjojosiwa
I didn’t know much about Jojo Siwa until recently, but I’m completely obsessed with her now.

She’s so positive and hardworking, and I really admire her decision to come out as LGBTQ – she wants to live happily and authentically.

Considering how much of a role model she is, and how much kids love her, I think it will really have a positive impact on acceptance and inclusivity.

What NOT to say when your LGBTQ+ friend comes out to you

AOC knows how to connect with fellow millenials. Photo: AFP
I also really admire US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s passionate and determined, and she works hard for what she believes in, even in the face of danger – like during the attacks on January 6.

She’s not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right, and she’s an inspiration to other women who want to fight for their communities.

Kamala Harris - Karly Cox

Kamala Harris - the first, but not the last. Photo: AFP
It’s impossible to talk about inspiring women of the last 12 months without mentioning US Vice-President Kamala Harris. Not only is she the first American woman ever to hold such an important job in the country, she’s also the first Black person, Asian person and mixed-race person in that role.

Many other countries have had female leaders and deputies – Sri Lanka was the first country to elect a woman to head a government way back in 1960, when Sirimavo Bandaranaike became prime minister. It’s a relief to see it finally happen in America.

Our favourite Netflix films and TV series featuring outstanding female characters

Eman Lam and Serrini - Kelly Fung

Eman Lam writes lyrics that speak to people's hearts.
Hong Kong singer-songwriter Eman Lam Yee-man was a member of pop duo AT17, and now is on ViuTV’s Goodnight Show. Everyone thinks she is the best mentor for the young singers on the programme.

Her songs are very inspiring. One of my favourites is Last Faith, which reminds us that feeling helpless is not a weakness. It is proof that we have tried, and that we care.

The song also says that, while people can take a lot of thing away from us, nobody can take our faith.

Another woman who’s been making an impact in Hong Kong lately is Serrini, another singer-songwriter with a unique music style. She might be the most intriguing female singer in the Cantopop history.

She is best known for her songs Sophia’s Bubble Tea, Cyber Security Concerns and I’m Applying Eyedrops at Lau Fau Shan. Like I said, unique!

Serrini shows us how Cantopop is evolving in a way that brings people closer, rather than creating a distant fandom like before. Her confidence in being herself, and being someone who defies the standards that society sets for female singers, is something we definitely need.

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