"Everything would have been different if I weren't a woman, especially where I come from in rural Switzerland. It was very gender distinct, so much so that I never even heard about homosexuality until very late in life. My mother said she was a feminist but there was a big discrepancy between her discourse and her actions. She was the center pole of the family and she worked hard and earned a better living than my father but there was always a deference to the males in the family. That is just the way it was there. In my village, divorced women were often looked down on. Even if it was the man who had a lover and broke up the marriage, it was the divorced woman who would have the lower social position. But my mother was always kind to divorced women, well really to all women. She loved women. " - Sylvie Degiez is originally from Switzerland and is a composer/musician/educator.
"I have always wanted to be a man and I have always been proud to be a woman. It seems simpler to be a man, you know, I have my dick and my knife and I am ready. But I always knew that there was certain power in being a woman. Women have the skills and capacity to multitask, analyze, to look at problems, measure, assess them - we can even look at anything and know what container it will fit in - we just know how to get shit done." - Laurence is a European actor and dancer.
"My father was one of six boys. His mother kept having children because she wanted to have a girl, but she never did. Instead she dressed my father like a girl until he was 5 or 6 years old. Not sure if this is why he was so gentle. My mother was the more hand's on, no nonsense parent - she worked hard and I don't think she ever had a manicure in her life. I was less receptive to the idea of sexism and it wasn't until recently when a female friend, who is a welder, was telling me about how her boss was always trying to get her to smile or laugh at his stupid jokes to gain her approval. She just wanted to get her work done and didn't think it was her job to make the boss feel good or laugh at his jokes. I had a boss once who used to pass by my desk and tell us to smile - it was annoying." - April Greene is a writes about workplace strategy for PlastArc.
"When I first got out of Grad School I had a job and was working with this dude. His previous job was cleaning the decks of a ship. So I taught him everything I knew and then he got promoted and became my boss. I realized then that the only way I was going to be able to control the future of my career and get ahead was if I became an entrepreneur. I made a promise to myself that before I was 30 years old I would start my business. My success has a lot to do with my smile. I'm friendly, I smile and then people want to talk to me." - Laura Mignott is the co-founder and managing partner of Digitalflash and she just launched The Reset, a five star podcast sponsored by Bose.
"I grew up in Mexico and my Father worked in construction. There's a lot of machismo in Mexico and my Father didn't think I could work like a man and didn't want me or my sisters to do construction work. He also didn't want me to play sports, except for tennis." - Susana Martinez is a part time student and works as a janitor.
"Being a stepmother has given me the opportunity to learn from and teach my step-children how to set the bar high. To highlight for them the potential that woman have, as well as the challenges that we face. I want them to know they need to be all in, to be dedicated, because they already have what they need to change the world." - Tracy Mack Parker, CEO, The Philanthropy Workshop.
"I've had classes where I felt like I had to prove myself. And then I have had classes where I did actually have to prove myself. One time I walked into my Physics II class wearing a pink sorority shirt. My, all male, project group acted as though I was invisible until I loudly asserted myself. But there have been many women and men in the STEM fields who have encouraged me and told me that there is a place for me in Engineering. Though, I don't wear my sorority letters to my Physics class anymore." - Danielle Neighbor is a Truman Scholar studying Engineering at University of Arkansas. She attended the Truman Foundation 40th Anniversary Party that was held at Gracie Mansion earlier this month.
"When I was in college I was being mentored for a competitive newspaper internship. During my interview I was asked," You are a beautiful girl, do you think people will take you seriously?" I wish I had said, "I never doubted people would take me seriously, until this minute." " - Lindsay Morris, Manager of Creative Content at Getty Images.
"When I worked at Facebook, I was often the only woman in the room. I would set up meetings via email and when I showed up in person I could tell that people were visibly disappointed when they realized "Randi" was a woman, not a man. This experience gave me the empathy, motivation and passion to launch Zuckerberg Media so that I can produce shows and books about smart, tech savvy girls." - Randi Zuckerberg just launched the show Dot on Sprout and the book Missy President.
"I've done a lot of things that women don't typically do. I made a conscious choice not to have children. In my twenties I raced stallions in the dessert with an Egyptian man. In 2008 I became one of 200 women who have summited Mount Everest. All these adventures, and all these decisions have shaped me and my idea of what it is to be a woman." - Nicole Lowry.
" I was sitting in a business meeting, during which I shared my honest opinions. Afterwards the women who were also in the meeting asked why I had to say things so harshly. That I wasn't being nice. I answered, " Isn't it more respectful to give my honest opinion and not sugar coat it?" If a man speaks his mind, even if he used the same exact words as I did - he would not be told he wasn't being nice." - Dannie Hetz Founder + CEO of TOPRO.
"I wanted to take Latin in school but I was told I couldn't because I was a girl. I played basketball and the girls team had to practice outside on the cracked cement courts and buy our own uniforms but the boys could use both indoor gyms and didn't have to pay for their uniforms. So much has changed the whole world of opportunity is open for my daughter." - Laurie Phillips is an Attorney.
"I am visibly Muslim because of how I dress, but I think about how this is different for Muslim men. Sometimes this means I am asked questions ,which is ok, but sometimes it results in insults. An Uber driver threatened to shoot me. When I got in the car I said, "Good Morning." And he said, " Are you going to shoot me?" and then said, "Oh,I better get my gun." Then he started leaning over like he was going to take something out of the glovebox. I made a joke and diffused the situation somehow." - Abrar Omeish is a student at Yale University.
"Being the woman means I'm the Mom. I am the organizer, the doer, the appointment maker. Even when I wish there was someone else to do all that - I know as a mother it is my job and I like that. I have a son and a daughter and I have raised them both to understand gender differences and to be respectful toward women." Leigh Goodmark is a professor of Law at the University of Maryland.