“Yesterday at my co-working office, I finished my coffee and put my mug in the sink and a man came and took it out of the sink, made eye contact and pointed at me and then filled and drank from my used coffee mug. I didn’t know what to do. I just left. I can’t imagine that this would happen to a man.” - Eliza McLellan is a member of the workplace design team at Plastarc.
“In 1994 I had been married for two years and I became pregnant. Neither of us thought we wanted children. I didn’t really give myself the chance to consider keeping the pregnancy because my husband was adamant against it. I had an abortion as soon as I could. We lived in rural Kentucky and there were only two abortion clinics in the state. Now there is only one and it has been a battle to keep it open. We drove for 2.5 hours and fought viciously the whole way. We didn’t fight about what was happening but about everything else. Then I went and had the procedure and went home. We are divorced. I don’t have children now and I’ve never had the drive to have children. He didn’t force me in there or twist my arm or anything but we never talked about it and never asked whether we really wanted to do this.” - Natalie is a photographer/visual artist.
“I started my organization Tallom Foundation because of two reasons. When I was turning 40 instead having of a party for me, I hosted a holiday party for the homeless families in my community. And when I was a child, I was molested by a family member. The pain and hurt from that experience and my love for giving back to my community inspires me to help young girls. I want them to know that despite their environment, their current circumstances and challenges that they can still aspire to be their best selves. The Tallom Foundation is healing for me. It gives me peace of mind that what happened was not in vain. It has enabled me to help, inspire and impact others in a positive way.” - Amarimba Charles is the Founder and Executive Director of the Tallom Foundation.
“Having sex with younger men led me to start Make Love Not Porn. A journalist once asked me whether I thought it would have been easier to raise money for Make Love Not Porn if I were a man. I answered, “A man wouldn’t have come up with this idea for a start-up.” - Cindy Gallop is the Founder and CEO of Make Love Not Porn.
“The birth and death of my son and the gratitude that I feel for the experience is what has influenced all of my work since his death. I documented one whole cycle of life and got to participate in it at the same time. When he was born the midwives slogged through the muddy clay to my house on the mesa. They braided my hair with ribbons and we sang him, Trempealeau, into the world. I photographed him as he came out of my vagina. And when he died a magnificent death of his own choosing, some of those same people gathered. We dressed in Victorian costumes and and I made Victorian death portraits of him. I photographed myself putting his body into the crematorium. This, was the first thing I really completed start to finish. Afterward I felt complete and totally empty.” - Heather Lynn Sparrow is a photographer visit Sparrow Photography to see her work.
“I always wanted kids and loved the role of being a mother. My grandmother is from Guyana and she was a “Jill of all trades”, a housewife, seamstress and chef. ”After the age of 45 she was a single mother with ten children and kept the house clean, gardened and all of her kids did well and went to college. She used to take care of all of us and my cousins at her home in Queens. The sound of the happiness that we had in that house is the sound I wanted to have in my life all the time. I had a beautiful childhood. Children have been easier to handle than the adults in my life. I have 6 sons, one daughter and one grandchild. My children are so beautiful and peaceful. My joy is how they relate to each other.” - Anjanette Dyer-Munroe
“I have a sister and people would say how pretty we both were and my Dad would always say, “And they are so smart.” My sister is an optometrist and I am studying for a Masters of Public Health and plan to get a PhD in neurotoxicology. Within the field of science and medicine women aren’t always supported. But growing up with the support of my Dad made me think that you can be pretty and smart and that what you can achieve is limitless. I am so lucky and privileged to grow up with that.” - Lauren Byrne is a graduate student.
“I am a fighter because I am a woman. And I think it is important to stay away from the anger. And being a fighter makes be go above and beyond. That’s why I got my Masters degree when I was 40 even with my kids and my work. I was a CEO before I was 40 and at 42 I started up my business. People didn’t expect much from me so I fought to exceed expectations. I throw myself into the pool and then it’s either sink or swim. That is why when I was younger I told my boss, “Either give me a raise or fire me.” Thankfully he gave me a raise.” - Marina Spindler is a consultant and the founder and president of Latam Board LLC (LAB).
“I feel like every moment of my life I am aware of my womanhood. Getting older and living in NYC, it feels like I’m a woman before anything else. Sometimes that is frustrating, sometimes liberating and sometimes maddening. Now that I am turning 30 I think about what it was like when I was 15. I’m more aware now. Just being, used to make me really angry. We are constantly being preyed upon. We are the biggest market, we spend the most money. Now I feel like I am in a transition and I look forward to the day when I am good with all that I am.” - Diomargy Nuñez is an actor.
“After college I moved back to Queens and lived with my parents. I didn’t want join a gym and be on a treadmill or with be at home with Jane Fonda. I’m really practical and if I’m going to spend a dollar I want to get the most out of it. I’m a 5 ft tall female so I thought learning self-defense while working out would be practical so I learned to box. I went to King’s Gym it smelled like sweat and there were buckets of spit. It was disgusting. There was a group of female boxers there and it was the most wonderful experience of my life. I started to compete as an amateur boxer. This is something I would never have imagined me doing. I trained until I was nine months pregnant. I should go back but I can’t find the time these days.” - Min Santandrea is an entrepreneur and the founder of a brand new shoe company SantM.co.
“If I weren’t a woman I would never have had the opportunity to carry, birth and breast feed a child. I’ll never know what it feels like to be a Father but I know what it feels like to be pregnant and become a Mother and it’s one of my favorite memories.” - Cynthia Nixon is an actor, activist and politician currently running as a gubernatorial candidate in the New York Democratic Primary.
"I got baptized two years ago and I loved it. You only have to go to church three times to get baptized. I went three times so I could get baptized but then I never left. That church is my family." - Shakira Williams works for NYC Parks and Recreation and is the mother of two boys.
"I am so grateful that I am able to pursue my dreams and professional goals without the same economic pressure as my husband. He owns a business and is the one who has a traditional work situation. I am the wife, the woman, the mother and I get the privilege of being able to start my own business. It is almost anti-feminist to say but I think men have a lot more pressure to provide for their families." Erin Yoffe Halper is founder and CEO of The Upside.
"When I first moved to New York I was shocked by all the verbal harassment, the cat calling that I had to listen to. At first I would react to it, but now I have lived here long enough that I just ignore it. I feel for every woman that has to deal with this." - Lauren Piluso is a fashion blogger.
"Everyone told me that going from one child to two children was a big leap. For me it was going from zero children that was a huge shock and felt like going into a big bucket of ice. I had not really been around babies before. I think the assumption is you will be a natural because becoming a parent is natural. But for the first three months of parenthood I felt awkward. Now I have three kids and its not awkward. Though, I am much more fearful for myself now that I am a mother. If I am by myself on a plane or a train I am more aware of potential risks - not because of 911 but because I don't want anything to happen to me while my kids still need me." Tirzah Schwarz is a partner in S2, a fashion showroom.
"Because I'm a woman I've experienced love. Let love go." - Stacy Y.
"I've learned to be confident about my work. I've had so many men say to me that they couldn't relate to my photographs because they are so emotional. Several of them said, "Why should I care about this?" I've come to a place where I don't need male approval. I can make the work I want to make and still find an audience. I don't need to make universally appealing work." - Jennifer McClure is a fine art and documentary photographer and in a few days will be a new mother. JenniferMcClure.com
"My whole family is what is most important to me. I'm in a choir and I like to show and teach my kids love and what is important in life." _ Anette McKie is the mother of six children.