"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.
"When I was in college I joined an all female singing group. They were more than sorority to me, they inspired me. Being part of that group made me really proud to be female." - Elaine Boxer is a business consultant and owner of Voila Chocolat.
"I gave my body over to science to have a kid at 45 years old. I tell my friends everything else I did before having a baby was just a hobby. I didn't get married until I was 40 and then we had to try different infertility methods, IVF and eventually assisted hatching worked. She was born with a genetic spinal condition but she is doing great." - Sharon Alexander is teacher, vocalist and community leader with ShirEcstasy.com
"As an educator it sometimes disturbs me because there is an assumption that women should be teachers because we are nurturing. I maintain high expectations, I set a standard for my students and I have a real skill and talent in what I do. I believe that girls and women need to feel purposeful. What I teach them here will grow with them, they develop their talent, their minds and they understand their value as a human being. If the focus for young women is about being beautiful - then all they have is a declining asset. Music and singing is about your unique voice - and really it is all about having a voice that matters. Some girls arrive in the program they don't value themselves, they are basically apologizing for the floorspace they take up in the room. And over time, I see them see themselves as being of value." - Dianne Berkun Menaker is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.