IWD21: Our Favourite Women That #ChooseToChallenge

by HULA , March 4, 2021


“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let’s all choose to challenge.”

2020, a year where inequalities were exaberated by the pandemic, a year that taught us we are all connected and to have more compassion. Now in 2021, it is more important than ever call out biases and inequality to create an inclusive world.

This year’s International Women’s Day focuses and celebrates the act of challenging. Choosing to challenge instead of accepting the status quo, we can all choose to call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. This year, HULA is committed to shining the spotlight on and celebrating the success of a few of our favourite women that #ChooseToChallenge.


Our Favourite Female Environmentalist that #ChooseToChallenge: Challenging the Limits of Tackling Environmental Problems


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A post shared by Emily Penn (@missemilypenn)

Emily Penn, Co-Founder and Director of eXXpedition

Penn was a successful sailor when she took up the challenge of tackling ocean plastic. Combining her two great passions, Penn launched a series of voyages shining spotlight on ocean plastic pollution even in the remotest corneres of the world. Penn co-founded a non-profit organisation, eXXpedition, that runs pioneering all-female sailing research expeditions at sea and on land to incestigate the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution. Sailing around the world with multidisciplinary all-female crews, they conduct scientiic research and explore solutions while harnessing each member’s unique skillset. Not only does their mission helps tackle the micro-plastic pollution in the ocean, they strive to nurture female leadership, personal and environmental awareness, cultural and societal shifts.


“Our ocean doesn’t know political borders or cultural boundaries,” Penn says. “The great news is that there are.. hundreds of solutions, and the reality is we need all of them to be able to change the issue.”


Our Favourite Female Entrepreneur that #ChooseToChallenge: Challenging Age-Old Stigma Around Mensuration and Female Sexuality

Olivia Cote-James, Founder of LUÜNA Naturals

Olivia Cotes-James founded LUÜNA Naturals, Asia’s first ever female-led period care company in 2017 and has been focusing on developing her line or organic tampons, liners and cotton pads. Breaking the taboo of mensuration and female sexuality, Cotes-James talks openly about subjects like virginity,  sexual empowerment and mensturation. By encouraging conversations about typically hushed topics, LUÜNA’s mission is to change the way women and girls experience their period. Having developed organic tampons, pads and reusable period cups, Cotes-James stays true to the three pillars of her brand — the development of healthier, more sustainable period care products; the creation of taboo free education around women health and bodies; and a business model supporting period education for girls in need.



Our Favourite Female Creative: Challenging Race, Gender, Pop Culture, Homophobia and Politics


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A post shared by NINA CHANEL ABNEY (@ninachanel)

Nina Chanel Abney, Contemporary Artist

Abney’s provocative, bold and quite often large-scale art is a reflection on race, identity, ad public narratives. “I was thinking about being the only Black persion in my class, and about the disproportionate number of Black men in prison,” recalled Abney. Creating art pieces around subjects that matter to her, from painting about race and politics to simply painting about “just Black people enjoying nature”, she refuses to be boxed in due to her race — despite being championed as one of the spearheads of the Black Lives Matter movement.


Rather than being prescriptive, Abney is interested in starting conversations with her work by including multiple perspectives, sometimes even the ones that she personally disagree with. “Sometimes it’s what helps me come to my own conclusions about something I’m not sure about, what does it mean for a male officer arresting a white male, or to think about, what does it mean for a male officer to arrest a female? Or another Black officer to arrest a Black male?”. One of her latest exhibitions, “The Great Escape”, explores with the idea that a utopia or arcadia can live in one’s mind, where one does not have to concern oneself with their safety or being on emtional, if not physical defense. Works of “The Great Escape” becomes the mirror of her experience and imagination for the future, in which she depicts her feeling of not being the Other and being able to feel what the typically majority “must feel on a regular basis” when she visited South Africa.