Womankind would not be where we are without the vision, leadership, and contribution of women—from our founders to our team of advocates, and everyone in between! If you’ve ever visited our headquarters in Manhattan, you’ve seen the wall of incredible women who inspire Womankind—the header above is just a fraction. This Women's History Month, we are sharing stories of women who inspire Womankind's staff.
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The most inspiring and strongest woman I know is my grandmother, Brigida, pictured here at 20 years old in 1955. She left her home, family, and friends in Cuba to start a new life in the United States with her two young sons. She felt she needed to escape communism and feared for her sons' lives. All young men were forced to join the military, and at the time Cuba seemed to be heading into a war with the US. She was able to make a new life for herself and her two sons in West New York in New Jersey. She is incredibly stubborn, loving, and determined—all traits I believe helped her on her journey to better the lives of those around her. Once financially stable, she sent supplies back to Cuba to help her family improve their living conditions. She has always helped others and never asked for anything in return. She's my role model and best friend.
This woman—my mother—protected my brother and I, while she was trapped in an abusive marriage. This month marks ten years of freedom for us.Watching her grow and realize her worth has been a privilege. She went back to school around the same time I was in college. One night towards the end of her final semester, she came into my room sobbing. Fortunately, they were tears of joy: She got an A on the final paper she needed to graduate. She was 60 years old and for the first time in my life, I heard my mother say, “Em, I think I might be smart.” She finished her degree with a 3.9 GPA and Magna Cum Laude honors. Today, she is a case-worker at the Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Commission, where she advocates for people healing from addiction and alcoholism. She does marathons and travels and cooks, and she smiles more than I ever thought was possible.
Yeoun Won is a true artist who paints her life so beautifully that anyone she interacts with becomes more vibrant and finds their true colors. She believes in the goodness of all people. She stands by people through their darkest time and guides them to the brighter side with her wisdom and love. She believes in people even when they doubt themselves. She teaches me how to cherish my being, care for others, and when to let go and stand up for the people I love. Thanks to her, I am growing to be a better person every day. I'm grateful and proud to be able to call this amazing woman, 엄마 (Umma, mom in Korean).
Growing up, my Maa was the middle child and didn't get much attention. She didn't even finish her education because my grandfather thought educating sons was more important than daughters. But, my Maa loved books. She gained enormous knowledge just by reading books in her father's personal library at a very young age.My Maa’s knowledge made her a powerhouse for her three daughters. She was a housewife and raised us in a very non-traditional way by Bangladeshi standards. My sisters and I grew up learning without thinking in terms of gender roles, and always had very open communication with my Maa. She spoke to us about topics that most South Asian mothers would never talk to their children about, like romantic relationships, sex and sexual relationships, red flags, and assessing the pros and cons of every situation. My Maa's honesty allowed us to be honest with her. She was never shy about sharing her past experiences, and she made us feel comfortable talking about issues in our own lives. She encouraged us to dream and helped make them come true. I learned to stand up for myself and keep moving forward no matter what life throws at me because that’s my Maa's attitude.
Consolacion Cervantes Micua (1903-2005). Woman. Daughter. Teacher. Sister. Seamstress. Wife. Community Leader. Mother. Traveler. Lola (Grandmother). Dancer. Great Grandmother. Filipina. Matriarch. Immigrant at 78 years old. Survivor of WWI, WWII, various occupations of the Philippines, and everything in between. Caretaker. Lover of Golden Girls and Whose Line Is It Anyway. Jersey City senior citizen. Banaba leaf tea drinker. Keeper of family memory. Sinigang (sour soup) maker. Open mind. Ampalaya (bitter melon) slayer. Integrity. Story-teller. Compassion. My La.