We are thrilled to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and the outstanding achievements of AAPI women product leaders. They are not only leaders in their industries but also inspiring role models who have broken barriers and made a significant impact on the world.
Join us in recognizing and celebrating the contributions of these incredible product leaders. On this page, you’ll find inspiring stories, engaging profiles, and fascinating interviews with AAPI women product leaders from various fields. You’ll learn about their unique journeys, their groundbreaking ideas, and their invaluable insights.
Influential AAPI Women in History
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu
Chinese American Nuclear Physicist
Indian American Astronaut and Engineer
Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to go to space, having served as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator on the space shuttle Columbia. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003 following the space shuttle Columbia’s 28th mission. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor. She is regarded as a national hero in India, where she was born in East Punjab, in 1962.
Anna May Wong
A true trailblazer in Hollywood, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese-American film star in the states and was featured in over 60 movies. She had various roles in silent movies, television and even landed a role in one of the first technicolor films ever shot, according to WomensHistory.org. While Wong accepted stereotypical roles as the supporting Asian actress in all-white films, she was outspoken about how unfairly Hollywood typecast and portrayed minorities, even leaving America for a time to go to Europe and pursue her acting career further. Wong even attempted opening her own film studio but had to shut down after her business partner was caught allegedly participating in “bad business practices,” according to WomensHistory.org. She died at the age of 56 due to a heart attack, but Wong will always be known as the first true Asian American movie star, blazing a trail in the film industry.
In 1959 when Hawaii became a U.S. State, Patsy Mink knew she wanted to run for a position in government. Little did she know, she would become the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress. In addition to writing bills like Title IX, the Early Childhood Education Act, and the Women’s Educational Equity Act, Mink was the first Asian-American to run for U.S. President.
In 1968-1969, Merle Woo witnessed the Third World LIberation Front student strike at the San Francisco University. She credits the Educational Opportunity Program and affirmative action that resulted from the strike for her career and politics. In June 1982, Woo was fired from her job as a lecturer at Berkeley for supporting student protests against racist and conservative policies. In 1989, an outside arbitrator declared the firing “unreasonable”, ruling that the university should reinstate her with full back pay, benefits, and seniority. In 1994, Woo won the Humanitarian Award. In 2003, Woo’s poetry collection, Yellow Woman Speaks, was expanded and reissued by Radical Women Publications.
Formerly Mary Yuriko Nakahara; May 19, 1921 – June 1, 2014) was an American civil rights activist. Influenced by her Japanese-American family’s experience in an American internment camp, her association with Malcolm X, and her Maoist beliefs, she advocated for many causes, including black separatism, the anti-war movement, reparations for Japanese-American internees, and the rights of political prisoners.
Stop AAPI Hate
The recent surge in hate crimes and violence against AAPI is deeply concerning and disturbing. It’s a reminder that racism, discrimination, and prejudice still exist in our society, and that more needs to be done to address and combat it.
- 1 in 5 Asian Americans have experienced hate in the last year
- Hate incidents reported by women make up 62% of all reports