International Women’s Day (IWD) Special: A Brief History of IWD & 5 LadyBosses to Watch

International Women’s Day falls on March 8, and was originally called International Working Women’s Day.

The focus of the celebrations have ranged from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for their achievements.  The earliest celebration was in 1909 in New York City, and in 1975, the Icelandic women’s strike paved way for the first female president in the world, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

International Women’s Day was celebrated in many forms around the world, including in London and Saint Peterburg. It was only after 1977 that International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event, after the United Nationals General Assembly invited member states to dedicate March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

International Women’s Day in Singapore

Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world, and in Singapore as a day for events, seminars, celebrations of women and their achievements.

A few events happening in Singapore include The Vagina Monologues on March 7 and 8 at The Projector, and Lean In Singapore’s Chapter Connection event.

Here at LadyBoss, we are celebrating Women’s Day with a free tech workshop with Microsoft and a series of articles highlighting female business heroes … so watch this space for a series of empowering articles celebrating women this week!

Without further ado – here’s our list of 5 LadyBosses to watch this year.

Prior to founding Miss Kaya and Marvelstone Group, Gina was a venture partner at Yozma Ventures (Korea) and co-founded asset management firms, One Asia Investment Partners and Leonie Hill Capital in Singapore.

#1: Gina Heng, CEO of Marvelstone Group / Founder of Miss Kaya

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An entrepreneur at heart, Gina is the founder of Miss Kaya, Singapore’s first licensed robo-advisor aimed at serving the financial needs of modern women in the Asian region. She is also the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Marvelstone Group, a private investment group.

Prior to founding Miss Kaya and Marvelstone Group, Gina was a venture partner at Yozma Ventures (Korea) and co-founded asset management firms, One Asia Investment Partners and Leonie Hill Capital in Singapore.

Gina recently spoke at LadyBoss’ networking event in February, “Building A Million Dollar Business”.

Gina believes that women are increasingly getting more involved in their fields of choice without worrying about societal pressures. “It has traditionally been so that men take on the lead role in business and work, but that view has been drastically evolving,” said Gina.

To read about Gina, click here.

At First Code Academy, students learn digital literacy and computational thinking skills, empowering them to become creators with technology.

2) Michelle Sun, CEO of First Code Academy

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From working at Goldman Sachs to Buffer, to teaching girls how to code, Michelle Sun is now making waves as CEO of First Code Academy.

At First Code Academy, students learn digital literacy and computational thinking skills, empowering them to become creators with technology.

Using proprietary curriculum adapted from Silicon Valley high schools, their after-school learning programs are incorporated in learning environments designed to stimulate inquiry based learning, logical thinking and creative problem solving.

To read about Michelle, click here.

3)  Rina Neoh, Co-Founder, Mercatus Capital

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Rina Neoh is a Malaysian angel investor and entrepreneur based in Singapore. She is the founding partner of Mercatus Capital, which has evolved into a seed investor, angel advisory, incubator, and business accelerator.

Mercatus operates through a network of offices in Singapore and Asia, and has provided seed capital to promising new small ventures in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, India, China and Hong Kong. To date, they have seeded and incubated around 75 start-ups with varying degrees of success over the last 11 years.

Rina wants more women to step up.

She says, “My personal advocacy is to encourage more women to take leadership roles in start-ups and entrepreneurship because they have the added advantage of being able to balance business acumen with their intuitive feel for people issues.”

To read about Rina, click here.

Mumspick is the exclusive distributor in South East Asia of highly curated baby products from US and Europe, many of which have won multiple awards.

4) Apple Morales, Founder, Mumspick

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Mumpreneur Apple Morales has dabbled in many businesses and her latest venture is a distributor of premium baby products, MumsPick.

Mumspick is the exclusive distributor in South East Asia of highly curated baby products from US and Europe, many of which have won multiple awards. In particular, MumsPick is getting known for distributing innovative baby and children’s products.

After spending 14 years in cosmetic giant L’Oreal, Apple decided to venture on her own so that she could spend more time with her child. She later did consultancy for cosmetic companies, started her own shoe line and even acquired a children’s play center which she helped set up called ActiveFun. Apple also founded Soyami, a brand of soya chips as an alternative for healthy snacking, which is distributed in the Philippines.

To read about Apple, click here.

Rilla actively plays the role of content creator for Mini Monsters. In the afternoons, she’d be busy running off for a shoot for her social issues talk show, “Rudy and Rilla” which has gotten her top spot in Mediacorp for 6 seasons in a row

5) Rilla Melati Bahri, Co-Founder, Mini Monsters

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We’ve heard of stories of successful entrepreneurs playing dual roles in juggling personal and working life. While it’s common to hear of women doing that, Rilla seems to excel in it.

By day, Rilla actively plays the role of content creator for Mini Monsters. In the afternoons, she’d be busy running off for a shoot for her social issues talk show, “Rudy and Rilla” which has gotten her top spot in Mediacorp for 6 seasons in a row since it was first aired.

While she admits being a single mom is a 24/7 full time job, Rilla is on top of her game and certainly at her finest.

To read about Rilla, click here.

The LadyBoss team would like to wish all our readers Happy International Women’s Day!

Written By

Liyana is a Co-Founder and Editor of LadyBoss. She is also Co-Founder of Anagram Group, a corporate training company which serves over 100 MNCs and government clients in Singapore, Asia, and the UK. Prior to Anagram, Liyana was Head of Communications for Singapore's largest foreign chamber, and Content Editor of Singapore Business Review. Outside of work, Liyana enjoys travel and spending time with her husband and boy-girl twins.

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