I met Marvell in the L train subway station on First Avenue. She and her two daughters were selling bags of cookies. ” We are a start up,” she explained. “I started by just packaging other people’s products but now we are baking all kinds of things. Natural cookies, from plant-based ingredients.” she said. Marvell’s daughters are home schooled and after they finish schooling at three, they help her with the business. ” My mom wasn’t a business minded woman nor did she have any have inspirations of starting her own business, she was more of a home maker just taking care of the family. I want to instill in my young ladies ideas and ideals, I wasn’t privileged to have learned from my mom about creativity and innovation or how to make a living by doing the things you enjoy and love.” She says that sometimes you learn things too late in life. She wants her girls to be prepared, to learn when they are young. Marvell is glad she is a woman, she says it is special and she likes being feminine. “I don’t think that I have to walk or talk or act like a man to succeed, I can be feminine, I can be a woman.” What she doesn’t like about a being a woman is the way women treat one another. She clarified, “I don’t like social media because women use it to criticize and cut down one another. They will look you over head to toe and comment on social media and then won’t even say hello when they see you in person.”
Jing and her husband have owned Crystal Cleaners and Laundromat on East 20th Street for eight years. “Because I am a woman I am very luck to have babies. I have two happy and smart daughters,” said Jing. “I think maybe in the work world and at school it may be easier to be a woman, but at home it is harder. We have to take care of the home, the food, the children,” she said. For Jing it doesn’t matter that she didn’t have any sons. “In Chinese culture having boys is more celebrated. I am happy that I have two girls but maybe for my family, they would have been happier if I had a son,” she said.
Luisa has been working at Rent The Runway for the past two years and she aspires to do something more intellectual in the fashion industry. “I want to do something where I make a difference in the world. The fashion world is disillusioning – I want to make clothing more meaningful, more intellectual and less about having something.” She pointed out that sometimes it sucks to be a woman. “I am into politics. And there are huge inequalities between men and women. Even in fashion – everything costs more for women. It sucks. A lot of things suck about the inequalities between men and women and they go unnoticed or even if they are noticed nobody does anything about them,” she said. She is Columbian and though she is an American citizen, when she travels alone to Columbia she has a hard time getting through security without a hassle. “It’s like it is looked down upon to be a woman traveling by yourself. I was recently going to Columbia and there were all these other men traveling alone too, but when I put my passport or ID through the scanner I always get an X and have to go through further security scrutiny. I have to wonder if it is because I am a woman, none of those other men traveling alone who are in the same line get an X.”