Mulan Club was founded in the spring of 2017 by a group of female executives in Manhattan as a nonprofit dedicated to empowering professional Asian women, changing stereotypes about Asian women, and highlighting Asian philanthropic activity. Mulan Club will do this, says board member and marketing director Victoria Rong Kennedy 史嵘, by “bringing Asian women from many different fields together to support and inspire one another.”
Mulan Club has 30 members so far, with plans to expand. So far, most members are ethnically Chinese and based in New York, but they are actively recruiting other Asian professional women and looking to expand to other cities. Mulan Club organizes speaking and networking events, fundraising activities to support local communities, and mentorship programs for young professional women.
The idea for naming the club after legendary female warrior Hua Mulan 花木兰 was from board member Eden Cai 蔡虹:
Asian women in the U.S. usually get stereotyped as being the Joy Luck Club type, or the kind of sexy Asian, but Mulan is a story about an Asian woman who is famous for her bravery and intelligence, not just her beauty. Unlike most Western heroines of fairy stories and children’s tales, Mulan’s story is not about a man saving a damsel in distress, it’s about a courageous woman who fights, using her intelligence to compensate for her lack of physical strength.
Victoria Rong Kennedy also notes that in Mulan’s day, “a woman had to hide her identity and pretend to be a man in order for her to do the thing she wanted to do, whereas now in many countries, women can be themselves and don’t have to pretend to be a man to work in the office.” But that’s very recent, and women are still rare in the corridors of power at the biggest investment banks, corporate management, and government. Asian women are even rarer.
For more on Mulan Club, see its LinkedIn page.