The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.
― Betty Friedan
Each year on March 8th we gather to celebrate International Women’s Day. Through rallies, performances, networking events and more, we recognize the contribution of women around the world and push for greater equality in the areas of education and employment. The United Nations, which has yet to appoint a female Secretary General, selects a theme for the event. This year’s theme is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. The idea is that the expiration date for gender inequality is the year 2030.
In the Company of Women is a new book that focuses on women in the workplace – specifically 100 women in the United States who identify as makers, artists and entrepreneurs. Accompanied by her photo, each woman answers a series of questions about what inspires her, what obstacles she has overcome, and what advice she has for others entering her field.
Design*Sponge blogger Grace Bonney, the book’s author, said that her goal was to present a wide variety of women so that everyone could find someone in the book to relate to. To that end we meet interior designers, restaurateurs, illustrators, musicians, authors, fashion designers, and more.
As a reader, I appreciated the diversity and found each individual’s voice exciting and inspirational. I also enjoyed the photographs of their work spaces. The creativity of these women boils over into their surroundings and the photography does them justice.
The best way to read this book is with a handful of sticky-notes. Mark your favorite quotes and read them daily. A few of my favorites:
“I am myself. I refuse to fit into what people want me to be or expect me to be. I stand up for what I believe in and will fight for it.” Preeti Mistry, Chef, Oakland, California
“In design school a professor told me to always ‘show them your fifth idea.’ The first few concepts are shared by every designer. Get to your weird place, your special place, the fifth, sixth, seventh concept. That’s when gold appears.” Genevieve Gorder, Interior Designer, New York, New York
“When I was a little girl, my dad told me, ‘Your brown skin is so pretty, the world is going to open up for you.’ What he was saying was not about business, and not really anchored in fact – it was about believing in yourself. It gave me such an amazing surge of confidence. It left me feeling magical, beautiful and powerful. What my dad taught me and what I’ve carried with me into business is the appreciation for my aura and myself. My best asset cannot be measured or copied or calculated – it’s my mojo. I always lay that on the table first.” Jodie Patterson, Beauty Entrepreneur, Brooklyn, New York
Yes! Happy reading and happy International Women’s Day to all.