Activist & Co-founder of Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
Ivy Josiah has often been at the front lines of the struggle to reform domestic violence laws and create refuge for mistreated women. As the executive director of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Ivy is headstrong in her voice in the battle against domestic abuse. Through her irrefutable contributions to the nation, Ivy has been credited in helping to “put domestic violence on the national agenda”.
“I do not accept that women should be relegated to second tier status.” says WAO pioneer, Ivy Josiah. In a single sentence, the renowned activist manage to express the drive that has been powering her over the past couple of decades.
As one of the nation’s most influential activist, Ivy Josiah has often been at the front lines of the struggle to reform domestic violence laws and create refuge for mistreated women. “Society doesn’t choose for you, you as a woman choose for yourself.” Ivy Josiah believes that everyone has a choice, and you live the life you choose.
There were women before you, who have also struggled, who had to struggle even more to get to where you are today. Do not give up, and work with everyone.Ivy Josiah
For more than 15 years, Josiah was the face of WAO, a Malaysian NGO that has been providing free shelter, counselling, and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse, since its initiation in 1982. Today, it is the largest service provider for domestic violence survivors in Malaysia.
Despite the fact that women’s rights have come a long way since the ‘80s, the no-nonsense veteran social activist is adamant in her belief that it is essential to always take a step forward. “We as women have come a long way, but I believe we have a longer journey ahead.”
When asked if there is any advice that she would love to give to young women during this International Women’s Day, Josiah stressed that the importance of unity could not be understated.
“Carry on what you’re doing, don’t do it alone, that’s important. There were women before you, who have also struggled, who had to struggle even more to get to where you are today. Do not give up, and work with everyone.”
(Photo Credit: TEDx Talks)