International Women’s Day on the 8th of March is a celebration of all women and a chance to empower women and girls to realise that no dream is unachievable. As part of our celebration we’ve amassed five inspiring women Leadrs making a positive change in the world through business in order to inspire you. From unique methods of fundraising and awareness campaigns to on the ground action, these women continue to change the lives of so many people and are striving to remove the barriers women face around the world.
Mary Hoang – Founder and Head Psychologist of The Indigo Project
Starting as a Psychologist for children at the Salvation Army, Mary Hoang has pioneered a new way of reaching people through her work and foundation of The Indigo Project. A progressive and innovative space, The Indigo Project flips tradition ideas about therapy on its head and focuses on more creative means such as music and art workshops and down-to-earth language to really connect with patients while making them feel comfortable. The Indigo Project has made huge strides in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.
“[Creativity] offers an easy pathway for our community to understand their minds and mindfulness in a down-to-earth way,” she told The Collective Hub, “It definitely has pushed me to my limits at times… I think it’s really important to be incredibly strong mentally when you venture into entrepreneurship – anything can be thrown at you.”
Hoang’s work at the Indigo Project is blazing the trail for more non-traditional psychology/therapy methods and businesses whilst helping empower thousands of people to realise their potential. More about the Mary, The Indigo Project and the work they do can be found on their website and social channels.
Deva Pardue – For All Womankind
Deva Pardue, graphic designer and founder of design initiative for female empowerment For All Womankind, promotes equality and the furthering of women’s rights through a different lens. The range of products sold on For All Womankind such as posters, phone cases, necklaces and badges all feature the movement’s signature feminist illustrations and messaging. Sold online, these products raise money for The Center for Reproductive Rights, Emily’s List, Joyful Heart Foundation, and Safe Horizon. The initiative has now raised over $17,000 since launching in December of 2016. Also working with The Wing, a network of work and community spaces designed for women, Pardue has championed the feminist movement since she left school and has created a new outlet for feminist expression.
“I think the way you present your work is almost as important as the work itself,” she told Design Week “You need to be able to sell it and get people to buy into it, even more so sometimes when you’re in-house”. This design-based approach to spreading a message is a perfect way to gain a following, especially in today’s visual-based social media landscape, and you can find more of her work on her website.
Rosie Thomas – PROJECT ROCKIT
Co-founder of PROJECT ROCKIT, with her sister Lucy, Rosie Thomas has been empowering young people to stand up against bullying for 13 years. Through organising workshops and speaking events, PROJECT ROCKIT has reached hundreds of thousands of young people and aims to tackle the issues of cyberbullying and prejudice. Starting the organisation straight out of high-school, PROJECT ROCKIT has grown to be an innovative, award-winning change-maker that is regularly featured on large media outlets like Sunrise and The Project, as well as one that positively effects the lives of so many young people.
“Battling imposter syndrome is one of the biggest barriers to actually creating change or launching a business,” Thomas told Smart Company, “I wouldn’t say I’ve completely overcome that, but it’s about quieting that little voice in your head that says you don’t know what you’re doing. I realise now that no one knows what they’re doing.”
Lindy Howard – Co-Founder of Project Girl Code
Through a unique method of empowering girls and young women in areas vulnerable to trafficking, slavery and forced marriage, Lindy Howard, Co-Founder of Project Girl Code (PGC), is helping thousands of girls find sustainable employment in the digital economy. “We believe every girl and young woman has incredible potential and infinite value, regardless of her background, appearance, beliefs and ability,” Howard says on the PGC website. By working with NGOs and donations, PGC aims to break a cycle of poverty and set up a sustainable future through IT skills. With 100% of funds raised going directly to their project on the ground in Cambodia, PGC is changing the lives of vulnerable girls and young women.
“When girls are given the opportunity, they can excel, especially in the digital economy. We’re there just to make that happen” she told Just Digital People on YouTube. PGC is an ongoing cause that you can learn more about or donate to on their website.
Natalie Isaacs – 1 Million Women
Winner of Conservationist of the Year 2017, author of Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet and founder of 1 Million Women, Natalie Isaacs is an inspirational woman leading the fight for a more sustainable future. 1 Million Women is an organisation aiming to amass 1 million women to take the steps in their daily lives to promote sustainability and environmentally conscious practices.
“In Australia and around the world women make 85% of the consumer decisions that affect the household’s carbon footprint – we can influence through every dollar we spend and every choice we make.”