Today is International Women’s Day, so to celebrate, we want to introduce you to the legendary ladies in Bali who are making a difference.
From activists, visionaries and international heroes, to the everyday mum, sister or daughter working hard to get through this crazy thing we call life, throughout history women have helped shape the world we know today for the better. After all, we’re all the product of an amazing woman who went through hell to bring us here.
So today, on International Women’s Day, we’re honouring these strong, courageous and wave-making women from around the world, especially those who live with us in our humble island home. Right here in Bali, we have an incredible community of women who have made huge positive changes, whether fighting for the environment, the people, the animals or for peace – the island is full of inspirational female figures who deserve a mention on this historical day.
For the planet
Beginning with the new generation of activists, Bali is home to the inspiring young girls from Bye Bye Plastic Bags, Isabel and Melati. At just 13 and 15 years-old, these legendary little ladies convinced the government to ban environmentally devastating plastic bags on the island. They even spoke at international Ted Talks around the world, and we’ve never seen so many recycled bags in Bali since. Also fighting for a cleaner, greener future is long-time expat Electra Gillies, founder of gorgeous Eco Gypsy Houses. Her online eco magazine promotes environmentally friendly travel, sustainable living and she even sells her own ethical beachwear.
For the people
Then there’s the “Queen of Ubud” Janet DeNeefe who launched the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from the not-for-profit Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati foundation – a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing. The festival came about as a way to bring the crowds back to Bali after the tragedy. Today, the festival brings in an international crowd who live and love Bali’s culture.
For those less fortunate to be able to read and write, local Balinese Kadek Ridoi Rahayu is a devoted supporter of the Children Protection Institution of Bali. She’s a strong advocate for children’s rights and through her unremitting dedication to the cause, has been recognised as an Indonesian Young Leader by UNICEF.
For the animals
Also fighting for continuous change is Janice Girardi, founder of the Bali Animal Welfare Association. Janice and the BAWA team work around the clock battling to save Bali’s dogs, cats and heritage animals. Together with international donations, Janice helps fund BAWA with her own jewellery line, and she’s not the only fearless female expat here who has set up her own organisation…
Elizabeth Grant Suttie of Villa Kitty Bali has dedicated her life to rescuing Bali’s abandoned cats, now with over 100 (and counting) resident felines in her care. She’s joined by an army of other local female heroes who have also kickstarted their own animal charities, including Mission Pawsible, Jet Set Petz, Bali Pet Crusaders & BARC, and sooo many more, including incredibly devoted solo rescuers like Kris Ritchie and Franci of I Love Bali Dogs.
You might be starting to realise that this list of Bali’s amazing women could go on and on – and that’s before we even consider the hundreds of thousands of Ibus working hard each day in the villages to feed their families and maintain Bali’s iconic culture. So whether you’re one of the incredible expat women who threw away everything to experience this magical place, or a Balinese beauty that keeps this island alive with that unrelenting and contagious spirit, thanks to you, Bali is a female force to be reckoned with.
Happy International Women’s Day, Honeys!
To learn more about International Women’s Day and the amazing women featured in this year’s “Balance for Better” theme, check out the official International Women’s Day website.
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