Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Earlier this week, the ForbesUnder30 list came out, which recognized the work of 600 people in everything from healthcare, education to even finance. This year’s list demonstrated that 40% are identifying as women and 49% are people of color.
It’s only fair with this week’s edition of #Trending we celebrate the nominations of 6 marvellous South Asian women who made it to the list:
Kehkashan Basu - the youngest nominee in the “Education” category - has been a force to be reckoned with since she founded her social enterprise called “Green Hope Foundation” at age 12. Her non-profit has over 2000 ambassadors and operates in 15 countries to implement the UN's sustainable development goals. Currently a third-year student at the University of Toronto, her achievement isn’t just limited to making the Forbes list - she’s spoken at many reputable forums such as at the World Bank and the St Louis Climate Summit.
Currently, the Bitcoin network is worth over $200 billion, however, one issue with it is that it doesn’t have any central authority to ensure the developer is following protocol full-time. Amiti Uttarwar is one of the first women that's a protocol engineer developing a code for the cryptocurrency. Amiti’s recognized for her work in the “Finance” category and recently also launched a publication called “Bitcoin Zine."
Pooja Chandrashekar, currently doing her second degree at Harvard, was a phenomenal nominee in the “healthcare” category for the "COVID-19 Health Literacy Project" she founded. The COVID-19 Health Literacy Project has proven successful in translating COVID-19 information in 40+ languages. Furthermore, they have been able to work with 50+ hospitals to distribute their materials to non-English speaking minority groups. Her project brings us one step closer to fostering an equitable healthcare system.
Hafsah Faizal, of Sri Lankan and Arab descent, is a New York-Times bestselling author for her novel “We Hunt the Flame.” The storyline is based on a woman that disguises herself as a man to travel into a dangerous forest and restore magic to her people in ancient Arabia. Aside from writing, she also runs a book blog called "IceyBooks" and a web designing company called "IceyDesign." Hafsah’s achievements are incredible as she started her book blog and website designing company at 17, then at 20 self-published her first book and at 27 ended up on the #ForbesUnder30 list.
Trisha Prabhu recognized as this year’s youngest Forbesunder30 in the “Social Impact” category was nominated for her app - "ReThink." Prabhu created a patented technology that was designed to detect and stop online hate. Her research showed that "adolescents change their mind 93% of the time and decide not to post an offensive message” when using "ReThink." Aside from being a Forbes nominee, her work has been recognized by figures like George Bush who awarded her the "Daily Points of Light Honor" award and ex-President Obama, and the U.S. State Department who invited her to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Sanaa Khan has been working at Google for 6 years as Program Manager - where she handles Go-to-Market Strategy and Hardware Planning for Stadia (cloud gaming service founded by Google.) She’s been recognized by Forbes in the “Games” category for leading “Free Play Days” - where Stadia subscribers can play a game on the gaming service for free - an initiative started to support gamers during the pandemic. She also focuses on driving a scholarship program for women developers.
It’s a phenomenal feeling when you go on the Forbes website every year and notice women of color paving the way with their achievements, whilst the gap slowly narrowing between both sexes when it comes to the nominations. That being said, I only showcased stories of six South Asian women that were individually recognized. Conversely, whilst it's exhilarating celebrating desi women for their nominations, several factors influence you being recognized by Forbes, such as social capital and privilege, so a nomination shouldn’t be the driving factor for success.