Inspiring Women to go beyond borders and boundaries: Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir officially announces ZafigoX 2018 by unveiling the list of speakers for this year’s installment

Blogged by @Joehairie 
For ZafigoX 2018 


The much anticipated event, ZafigoX 2018 was officially announced today by its founder, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. Aimed at empowering women through informed travel, the event’s  panel of inspiring globe-trotting speakers was also unveiled. Spanning three days, from 9 -11 November, the second installment of ZafigoX returns with more talks and workshops, and for the first time, encapsulated in a standalone event to be held at The Gardens Hotel, Mid Valley City, KL.

Travelling can be a powerful experience, and if you’ve ever dreamed of scaling Mount Everest or trekking through the Amazon Rainforest, you’re not the only one. Many of us are filled with wanderlust to travel the world, yet have never taken that first step. We’re held back by our responsibilities, self-doubt, and sometimes even fear. ZafigoX 2018 looks to change that, especially for women.

As a woman, travel can be daunting and holds many risks, but through careful planning and education, travelling can be safe, easy and more importantly a catalyst for personal growth. An initiative by social activist and travel enthusiast Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, ZafigoX is the space for women to be inspired by trailblazers who have accomplished extraordinary feats, and to meet other women who share similar passions and interests.

“Travel is a very gendered domain. Female travellers have very different concerns as compared to their male counterparts. For example, if you are on a business trip to Pakistan what should one wear? Is a pantsuit considered offensive on women? Should I shake hands with male colleagues or greet them from a distance? On the contrary, backpacking across Europe brings with it a whole new set of queries and challenges. With so much riding on our minds before we even begin our journey, and with little or sometimes no access to the correct information, most women often feel restricted to cross thresholds into unknown territories,” says Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Founder of ZafigoX.


“With ZafigoX we want to create a space where women travellers can share their stories to help guide and encourage other women to travel with a renewed sense of confidence and self assurance. We want to empower women to take that first step to explore the world and the endless possibilities that come in its wake,” she adds.

Held last year in Penang in conjunction with George Town Festival, the inaugural ZafigoX 2017 hosted over 100 ardent women travellers with a talks, workshops and panels that included Malaysian hitchhiker, Petrina Thong, South Korean cyclist, Jin Jeong, and Manal al- Sharif, who led the ‘Right to Drive’ campaign in Saudi Arabia.

This year, ZafigoX makes its debut in Kuala Lumpur with an extensive panel of speakers who will come forward to share their redefining travel experiences. The 2018 instalment will feature talks by Marin Minamiya, a Japanese university student who has climbed all of the world’s highest peaks and trekked the North and South Poles to complete The Explorer’s Grand Slam, Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Filipina domestic worker turned internationally-acclaimed photojournalist, Claire McFarlane, a rape survivor who is now running marathons on beaches around the world to raise awareness on sexual violence and many others.

Along with presenting the audience with awe inspiring speakers, the event will also host a number of panel discussions and workshops that will prepare women to travel independently and safely. Another element of the event is the marketplace which highlights and supports women-run enterprises and local female artisans.

ZafigoX 2018 will also be debuting ZafigoTravelIndustry on the 9th of November with its first panel session “What Do Women Really Want When They Travel?” and its first masterclass “Selling Travel To Women: A Masterclass”. Designed for industry professionals with worldwide case studies and in-depth research, participants of the Masterclass will, through a series of interactive activities and break out sessions, acquire a deeper understanding of marketing to female travellers.

Meet and listen to stories from bold, adventurous, and extraordinary women, discover new destinations, and learn to overcome fears and barriers to travel at ZafigoX 2018.

To read the Speaker Profiles, lick the attached PDF below:

ZafigoX 2018 Speaker List (EN)




Launched in 2017, ZafigoX is the first event in Asia dedicated to women empowerment and travel, where women come together to discover, learn, meet and be inspired. Travel – especially solo travel – empowers women to be independent and stronger. It teaches them about themselves as well as the world around them. Women have to look out for many things that men don’t. This is especially so in Asia and the Middle East, where social and cultural norms that affect women vary from country to country. ZafigoX aspires to help women discover what they are capable of through their journeys; and to ultimately inspire themselves and everyone around them.

Official website:


Marina Mahathir is a writer and activist whose passion for women’s rights has been a constant thread throughout her working life. As a newspaper columnist, she has written about the numerous injustices Malaysian women face for over 25 years. She has co-produced a TV programme, 3R – Respect, Relax and Respond, for young women to educate them about their rights and to provide options in life other than what they are often given. As an HIV/AIDS activist, she has fought for the vulnerabilities of women in the epidemic to be recognised and acted upon in order to protect them. She is also on the Board of Trustees of the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh which seeks to provide tertiary education to young Asian women from underprivileged backgrounds.



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