Five brave Asian women who influenced history

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Yosano Akiko was born 7 December 1878 in Sakai, Osaka, Japan. In high school she subscribed to a magazine called Bright Star. Their editor, Tekkan Yosano, who taught her a form a poetry called tanka eventually became her husband. Her first book was majorly about her love towards her husband and also expressed femininity that was unconventional for her time. She created a new image of womanhood, as lively, free, sexual, and assertive people. Women were seen as demure and modest during this time in Japan. She was widely critized for her poems and her thinking although she was always supported in her writing by her husband. She is thought to have written between 20,000 and 50,000 poems and 11 books of prose in her lifetime. She helped found a girls’ school and became its first dean and chief lecturer, she was a lifelong advocate of women’s education. She was against the war efforts in the beginning but in the end she was for the war and wrote poems to support it. She believed in financial independence of women and that women should not equate motherhood to womanhood. She died from a stroke at the age of 63.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born 19 June 1945 in Rangoon, Burma. She led the pro-democracy movement and believed in a philosophy of non-violence and buddhist concepts. In 1990 she was awarded the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought and the Nobel Peace Prize the next year. She spent 15 years over a 21 year period on house arrest. She’s always held strong to her political beliefs. Currently she is foreign minister and state counsellor.

Indira Gandhi was born 19 November 1917 in Allahabad, United Provinces, British India. She was an Indian politician and stateswomen and central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and only female Prime Minister and second longest serving until her assassination by her bodyguards in 1984. She was a dominating figure in Indian politics and was effective at her ability to promote Indian foreign policy measures. She presided over three five-year plans and was able to succeed in meeting their targeted growth on two of them. She was able to get equal pay and work for men and women in the Indian constitution. She was a believer that women could do everything.

Corazon Aquino was born January 25 1933 in Panaqui, Tarlac, Phillipine Islands. She was a Filipino politician who served as the 11th president and first female to hold that office. She toppled the 21-year presidential rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos and restored democracy. She led the world’s most successful non-violent and bloodless peace revolution for democracy. Her administration had strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights. She was concerned with restoring economic health and creating a market-oriented and socially responsible economy. She died in 2009 due to colorectal cancer.

Benazir Bhutto was born 21 June 1953 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. She was a Pakistani politician who was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation. She served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. Her and her mother led the country’s movement for the Restoration of Democracy where Bhutto was repeatedly imprisoned and then exiled to Britain. She was a controversial figure and often critizised as politically inexperienced and corrupt. She maintained being domestically popular and attracted support from Western nations, for whom she was a champion of democracy and women’s rights. She was assassinated after a political party in 2007.

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