Omnify Women's Day Spotlight: Small Businesses, Big Impressions!
Given a chance, we all would want to build an equal world - A world that would be less noisy of biases and barriers in each step. A world where gender equality is the norm, not the ask - a world where women have an equal share, equal voice, equal pay, and equal respect! Even as we come upon International Women's Day 2022, this still feels like a bit of a utopian dream, unless strong ripples are created by the collective efforts of amazing women worldwide - women who choose to slay the dragons themselves!
Aiming for a truly gender equal world
The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow. Centuries of efforts have been made to empower women through every means necessary, all so we can enjoy an equal future together. However, gender equality today is still out of reach for many women hailing from the more underprivileged sections of society. As we come upon International Women's Day this year, all our efforts must be focused on working to achieve 'generation equality' so that the women of tomorrow can live in a truly gender-equal world. If we are to build a better tomorrow, we must begin by recognizing the efforts of the women before us and understand the history of International Women's Day and how it came to be widely celebrated on March 8 every year.
History of International Women's Day
The struggle for gender equality first began to gain political and social momentum around the late 18th century through movements fighting for equal rights for women and political debates that took center stage throughout the 19th century. In 1908, a women's march through the streets of New York united 15,000 women in demanding the right to vote as well as shorter hours at work along with equal pay. In 1909, America celebrated its first National Women's Day.
A year later, the idea of an international Women's Day was proposed at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkins, an activist and advocate for the women's rights movement. With the approval of 100 women from 17 countries, the first International Women's Day was thus celebrated in 1911. The date of March 8 was chosen in 1917 when Russian women won voting rights following an intense wartime strike that began on the date. International Women's Day celebrations have been organized annually by the United Nations since 1975, with the fight for gender equality gaining more prominence with each passing year.
Rewriting norms for a better tomorrow!
This International Women's Day, we decided to celebrate women around us who have been working hard to create a better world on their own terms. These fabulous women have not only been able to carve a niche for themselves but also paved the way for many others to rise. They have been the real backbone behind the empowering #girlboss movement. They have chosen to challenge every regressive norm and take the tougher road of building their own business and flourish too!
Omnify is happy to celebrate a few of these many incredible women in business who are not only a part of the global workforce but have actually been trailblazers in leading many of these workplaces. We got some of the women entrepreneurs to share how they got started and draw inspiration from them.
But first, cheers to these beautiful women for bringing gender equality today-
"You indeed raised the bar high, So many on the way may find the confidence to hold up the sky!"
1. Wendy Kek (Founder of HAHA Chinese)
For Wendy Kek, entrepreneurship happened solely by accident. HAHA Chinese was conceptualized in Bangkok, Thailand, back in 2017 when she took a sabbatical from her corporate career. She was initially providing Mandarin tutoring to children from Thai Chinese families; however, the learning resources were limited and often dull. To improve the learning experience of her students, she sought inspiration from ESL teaching. She incorporated many methodologies into her own Mandarin pedagogy, which now serves as the foundation of their work at HAHA Chinese.
Wendy Kek's vision for HAHA Chinese is to make her students embrace their Southeast Asian Chinese identity and culture and gladly accept their language varieties in the region.
Outside of entrepreneurship, Wendy enjoys traveling, learning languages, art, design, and dressmaking. She speaks English and Mandarin at native levels and conversational Thai.
Wendy Kek is the founder of HAHA Chinese, a Singapore-based Mandarin language education brand. The unique thing about HAHA Chinese is that they specialize in helping non-native speakers learn Mandarin in an interactive and fun way. They teach Mandarin as a Foreign Language through their campus as well as online classes. HAHA Chinese also organizes vacation camps for children from the age of 15 months onwards.
Wendy's motivational message for budding women entrepreneurs -
"Keep trying if you don't know what you want, and once you do, don't stop going."
2. Sadhana Thakur (Founder of Kriya Yoga Studio)
Sadhana loves yoga and the way it comforts people. It has rescued many through hard times, whether it be traumatic life situations, depression, or anxiety. It’s the next non-invasive way to get help. She has always been a motivated person who likes to ask questions and explore. It is through this journey she had learned heaps about herself as well. She believes that Atma Vidya is the ultimate knowledge, and with it comes unlimited freedom and bliss.
Sadhana is the founder and proud owner of Kriya Yoga Pty Ltd. She feels very fortunate to have created this riveting space of healing and yoga where people feel relaxed and connected to themselves. Like her name, she is the epitome of discipline and dedication and is working towards helping more people reap the many benefits of yoga.
From her many years of experience and devotion to her work, Sadhana shares some inspiring words for women who are aspiring to build their own business -
“Believe in yourself and trust your instincts. If you feel something is not working right, then trust that and explore more. Work hard and Know there is no easy way - it’s always the hard work that pays off in the end. Taking shortcuts may seem convenient, but there is no alternative to hard work in the long term. Put your best foot forward and follow up.”
3. Rebecca Jane Warrington (Founder of Yoga with Rebecca Jane)
Psychotherapist, Yoga, and Mindfulness teacher Rebecca Jane lost her livelihood overnight along with so many other yoga teachers at the start of the lockdown in March 2020. No longer able to teach face to face, she pivoted into the unknown territory of online delivery.
Rebecca's background as a psychotherapist came to the forefront during this time to help people struggling to cope with the pressures of working from home, job uncertainty, and health worries. She sets up 30-minute online yoga classes daily, enabling a regular exercise class but, more importantly, a little mindful shot of wellbeing.
Many of her students have been with her since March, and she is entirely content with the fact that she's been able to transform the lives of so many people by helping them with a little daily routine and online Yoga for a mindfulness sustainable future.
For her, stepping into the digital delivery of Zoom yoga was completely uncharted. Yet, weirdly, step by step, she managed to navigate the pitfalls of this new teaching medium to deliver her style of mindful Yoga. Lights, camera, and action started to rebuild a meager existence!
Rebecca took one step at a time. Slowly starting with a better camera, professional sound, and a booking platform, Rebecca delivered Yoga to a growing number of her students. Fast forward twelve months, Rebecca Jane now regularly teaches 30 classes a week over Zoom! That's 1500 yoga classes over 50 weeks online since March, a total of 875 hours of Yoga, which her students seem to be well received.
Online Yoga has opened up new opportunities for yoga teachers who no longer need to rely on people coming to the local community center for their exercise in the evenings. Instead, the teaching comes to their living room. Regular students roll out of bed and can start their class within minutes. It creates a routine that helps them survive, improves their mental wellbeing bringing new meaning to stretching out in front of the television.
Rebecca Jane is also a prolific writer on Medium. She also published a book called Mindfulness My Way: Toolkit for Change and an 8-week course on mindfulness- 'Discover Mindfulness.'
Rebecca Jane teaches Live Online Yoga and mindfulness classes and is the proud owner of Yoga with Rebecca Jane. A live online yoga experience helps people establish daily exercise routine classes, especially those who find it challenging to stick to a routine.
For a seasoned and accomplished woman like herself, Rebecca has these amazing words to inspire each woman who is slowly building herself and her business-
"Get support and be consistent. You will grow immeasurably whatever the outcome of your business. It's an empowering venture to set out on your own. Deviating from the normal is a courageous act. Be steadfast and clear in your mission. Flesh out the details with others who can be your advocate but also honest. Honesty is hard for many entrepreneurs since we are always on the edge of the precipice of falling or quitting, making us more sensitive. Yet, invite those comments in to learn and shift as you will have to inevitably. Stay Strong, Stand Tall, Keep on."
4. Jessica Lim (Founder of J Platform)
Jessica loves to dance and found a passion for teaching as well. After 10 years of teaching as a dance and fitness instructor as a freelancer, she finally opened her dance studio called J Platform in Singapore in 2019.
J Platform is a studio that provides dance and fitness classes to adults mainly. They also provide instructors to companies and schools. Its signature dance fitness program is K-Kardio Dance, a Kpop cardio dance made for non-dancers to work out to Kpop hits. J Platform currently has 117K subscribers on their YouTube channel!
Jessica Lim’s golden reminder for starter-
“You will only regret if you did not even try!”
Because every woman is a wonder within, here’s Omnify wishing all the fabulous women a very Happy International Women’s Day!
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On International Women's Day Omnify cheers female business leaders who built their identity despite all odds to create a balanced world and sustainable tomorrow