3-minute read

Why Women Make Amazing Changemakers


Lakshwin Murugamoorthy

Lakshwin serves as the Executive Director of Women Of Will (WOW), an NGO dedicated to empowering women living in low-income communities in Malaysia through entrepreneurship and leadership. WOW assists women entrepreneurs by providing training, coaching, and access to business capital to improve their businesses and communities.

Women, especially those from low-income communities, are not just homemakers; they are pillars of resilience and change in their families and community linchpins. Balancing the care of their children, spouses, and extended family, these women also often run home-based businesses to support everyone. Their vital role extends beyond financial contributions; they are key to improving their family’s standard of living, ensuring access to quality education for their children, and paving the way for a brighter future. These traits can be seen in a third of women in our programs who achieved upward social mobility for their families.

Personal reflections

Throughout my life, I’ve had the privilege of being influenced by strong women. Whether it's my nanny, who raised me as one of her own when her kids were back in Indonesia, and always told me to grow up and help other women like her. Or my mother, who passionately wanted me to be a doctor (she believed I had healing hands) but told me it's more important for me to follow my dreams and to practice good values. Or my bosses who taught me that leadership means to serve and develop the potential of others. All these women impacted me in different ways and made me the man I am today.

Empowering women at Women Of Will

Through my years at Women Of Will (WOW), I’ve witnessed the profound impact of empowering such women entrepreneurs. By honing their leadership skills and providing access to essential resources, these women have also implemented remarkable initiatives in their communities that have impacted thousands of their fellow community members. Their influence is far-reaching and transformative, from establishing community businesses to organising events that bring diverse social impact partners together.

Skills Development Workshops by WOW
Skills Development Workshops by WOW, photo courtesy of WOW


Empowering a woman transcends individual benefits. It's a cascading effect of growth that enriches families and communities, promoting gender equality. Many of the women we work with from the B40 community (lower 40% of income earners) aspire to uplift others, driven by a deep understanding of their struggles. Their endeavours address more than immediate needs. They lay the groundwork for systemic change and nurture the values and skills of future leaders.

How Kak Misha empowers others

Take, for instance, the inspiring journey of Kak Misha. As a single mother, she joined our entrepreneurship program to enhance her spa business and provide a better life for her children. The program did more than improve her income; it ignited her passion for community service. Kak Misha initiated a community business that creates job opportunities for other women like her. She also bridges the gap between change-makers, social impact organisations, and her community, ensuring solutions are tailored, targeted and impactful.

A visit to Kak Misha’s community business revealed the profound impact of her work. A participant/woman entrepreneur, overwhelmed with tears of joy, shared with me how her income had doubled within a month, thanks to Kak Misha's mentorship. This moment underscored the incredible influence women have in fostering change. Once a beneficiary of opportunities, Kak Misha had transformed into an empowerment agent herself! 

Kak Misha with fellow women entrepreneurs at WOW’s Community Sewing Centre
Kak Misha with fellow women entrepreneurs at WOW’s Community Sewing Centre

Empowered women lead to empowered communities

So, why am I passionate about the work that I do? It's simple. Empowering women means igniting a chain reaction of positive change. It doesn't stop with one individual but continues to touch the lives of many. It leads to grassroots solutions that address the needs of those most in need effectively and efficiently. It ensures our efforts to improve the world keep multiplying.In championing women, we are not just supporting a person; we are nurturing a catalyst for broader social and economic development. The story of Kak Misha and many others like her is a testament to this truth. It's a narrative of strength, resilience, and transformative power. It's about creating a sustainable future where every woman's potential is recognised and nurtured and their success becomes the community’s success. 

Women Participants at WOW event
Women Participants at WOW event, photo courtesy of WOW


This is why supporting women just makes sense. It's logical, both from a numerical standpoint and a systemic perspective. We can reach many others through one woman and witness her family and community thrive. By giving women the tools they need, we create broader change. They understand the issues and can develop effective solutions while shaping the leaders of tomorrow in a more equal world.

As Kofi Annan puts it beautifully, “There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players.”

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