These powerful women are bringing more diversity to top positions
These Asian women are proof that the numbers are changing—with their success, they are challenging the underrepresentation of women, especially Asian women, in senior-most executive jobs and in boardrooms. Collectively, they’ve reached some of the highest positions in the country, in both government and the corporate world. Meet this group of accomplished women who are leading the way for other Asian women to follow.
First Asian-American Woman Senator
Mazie K. Hirono was elected to the Senate in 2012 and sworn in as Hawaii’s first female senator and the country’s first Asian-American woman senator. Born in Fukushima, Japan, Hirono was nearly eight years old when her mother brought her and her older brother to Hawaii to escape an abusive husband and seek a better life. Hirono served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1981 to 1994 and earned a reputation as an advocate for consumers and workers. After being elected as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994, Hirono led efforts to support Hawaii’s tourism industry through visa reform. Voters in Hawaii’s second congressional district elected Hirono to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
Top Washington Correspondent for Al Jazeera
Joie Chen is an American television journalist, anchor of Al Jazeera America‘s flagship evening news show America Tonight, which was launched in August 2013. Chen has been a Washington-based correspondent for CBS News, reporting from the White House, Capitol Hill and other beats for all of the network’s programming. She also contributed to CBS Sunday Morning and won an Emmy for her coverage of the D.C. sniper attacks. She has been an anchor at CNN and CNN International, covering world affairs and domestic issues, and she reported for USA Today on TV.
First Woman Direct of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Michelle Kwok Lee is Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Ms. Lee also serves as the principal advisor to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on domestic and international intellectual property policy matters. Ms. Lee is the first woman to serve as Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the country’s history.
As the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Michelle K. Lee provides leadership and oversight to one of the largest intellectual property offices in the world, with over 12,000 employees and an annual budget of over $3 billion.
Activist Delivering for Other Women
Ai-jen Poo is an American activist. She is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, a national coalition of 200 advocacy organizations working to transform the long-term care system in the US, with a focus on the needs of aging Americans, people with disabilities, and their caregivers.
She is a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award, and she has received the Open Society Institute Community Fellowship, the Union Square Award, the Leadership for a Changing World Award, the Ernest de Maio Award from the Labor Research Association, the Woman of Vision Award from Ms. Foundation for Women, the Alston Bannerman Fellowship for Organizers of Color, the Twink Frey Visiting Scholar Fellowship at University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women, and the Prime Movers Fellowship.
First Chinese American Woman Elected to Congress
Judy May Chu is the first Chinese American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 27th congressional district, serving in Congress since 2009.
Chu currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where she is a member of the Subcommittees on Intellectual Property and the Internet as well as Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
Chu was first elected to the Board of Education for Garvey School District in 1985. From there, she was elected to the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as Mayor three times. She then was elected to the State Assembly and then California’s elected tax board, known as the State Board of Equalization. In 2009, she became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history.
Tech Manager is a ‘Star in Technology’
Northrop Grumman Corporation manager Anita Lee Wright recently received the Industry Corporate Responsibility award at the 21st Annual Women of Color STEM Conference. Wright received the Corporate Responsibility award for her efforts to support Northrop Grumman’s assistance to under-represented communities and provide technology tools and education services for minority youth and adults.
Wright, a manager of business development for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in Northrop Grumman and the community. She is active in Northrop Grumman employee resource groups that support women, Asian-Pacific Islander professionals, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender professionals, and individuals with disabilities.