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Book Overview

It is women who continue to remind us of our humanity, to love our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and ourselves. From women all over the world, these are the stories from women, by women, for women, to people all over the world.

Prologue

The important reasons for why such a project needed to happen in 2020.

Countries

Read the perspectives of women from 195 countries and many territories.

Conversation Insights

Some insight into the conversations with women throughout the world.

Budget and Challenges

A look into the issues that arose during this project.

Epilogue

Final thoughts from the collaborator on the project.

Special Thanks

Credit to those who helped to make this project possible.

The Collaborator

Learn more about the collaborator of this project.

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Excerpts From The Project

Women exist everywhere on the planet and have a story to tell. A woman who remains silent or has been silenced is suffering. When she chooses to share her story with the world, she is making the choice to show the world only a glimpse of her true power. She is inspiring future generations of young girls and women everywhere to show them that no matter where she is, no matter who she is, or how she grew up in the world, she can overcome anything, and within her is a power that she must explore herself, and what she chooses to do with this gift is completely up to her.

Although my family didn't allow me to study when I was younger, I learned to read from my aunt, a very kind and very independent-minded women, so she asked my dad if he could allow me to study and he allowed my aunt to teach me. I grew up knowing about a variety of different topics, including the Qu'ran, English, history, and even some science and mathematics, but I think I loved English and writing the most, as it allowed me to be very articulate.
I am a woman born in Albania. Born at a time when communism was on the verge of collapse and the struggle for freedom had begun. I grew up in a time of transit, kidnapping, hunger, and corruption. I grew up feeling prejudiced because I was born a woman. I grew up feeling the weight of being a woman since I was still a child. I grew up fearing that I would never succeed because I was a woman, and being a woman in my country is not easy.
Hi, my name is Bianca and I was born and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, the second biggest Brazilian city. As I am an only child, my mom taught me how to be independent, so I started to work at a very young age. I have never let my studies behind but when I was 15 years old, I felt like I needed to earn my own money, so I asked my uncle to work at his computer store. After one year and a half, I quit in order to take my university exams. In Brazil, you have two types of universities, a private one and a public paid by the government, this latter being the best one. However, to enter a public university you need to study a lot. I have graduated in business administration at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a public one. I had to study a lot to enter and finish this course.
“Speak English and only English!" The factory supervisor shouted these words constantly. Workers from all over the world who were newly landed immigrants in Canada worked in factories just like this one. Times were difficult, discrimination was rampant and unbridled even in the work force. That was my mother's experience when she arrived in Canada from Italy in 1955. Things have certainly changed. I am a first generation Canadian, born in Toronto and thanks to the trailblazing of so many brave immigrants, my life has been privileged in comparison.
Born and raised in a small village in southern China, I had lived with my grandparents until I was eight. Children of similar ages played together before we could vaguely perceive the difference between boys and girls. The absence of parental love reinforced a strong tie with my grandma. She was a traditional Chinese countrywoman who was illiterate for there was no chance for her to accept education at her age. However, her instruction made an indelible impression on me especially on the important years of my life.
I am María Ángeles, more Cuban than “the mojito” (laughs) and I want you know the true power that love for children has. I was born in a very humble home, between fishermen and fighters to survive. I don't want to talk to you about politics or Fidel, only about my Cuban culture. Of the rest, much has already been shown and not exactly such certain things.
Hi, I’m Meghane Poulet but everyone calls me Meg. I’m 25 years old and I was born in a town called “La Teste de Buch”, just outside of Bordeaux, in the southwest of France. I was born in France but actually grew up in the States. In a big city called Dallas, in the state of Texas. Growing up in the States was the best because there’s an infinite amount of adventures you can go on with just a car and a love for road-trips. I guess that’s what gave me the ever-lasting love for traveling and the itch to become a nomad. My full-time job is to be a world-class touring circus performer but recently I’ve just been a world-class “staying” performer, living in France.
My name is Sheila, I live in Weimar state of Thuringia, Weimar is a very beautiful city filled with historical values and one of the city in Thüringen where tourists flock. I lived with my family, we are five in number, I, my sister, a little brother and my parent. It's more beautiful back then how we all go on vacations in different places but I love it more when we tour in my city.
I enjoy the Inuit culture and the abundant history behind it. I function as a tour guide with Qaqortoq Museum as well as I want to take a trip abroad later on the following year to study Worldwide relationships. My desire is to make Greenland a better place for all to live in. It is different to be a lady in this part of the world as a result of the many obstacles right here.
I was born in Reyjavík, the capital of Iceland, in 1999. I grew up my whole childhood in a small town 10 minutes outside of Reykjavík. I lived with my mom, dad and younger brother. I was lucky to go to school just next to my street, I walked there everyday with my brother. I spent a lot of my time alone as a kid, I used to read a lot. I would spend weeks of my summer break in the library, eating up books about anything and everything. I had a pretty basic upbringing, but it changed a bit when my parents split up. I try to look on to the positive side of things, it does more good than looking at the negatives.
When you are born in a small town in India, which falls somewhere between an underdeveloped village and what we perceive as the epitome of advancement as far as the country goes – a metropolitan city – I was acutely aware of the widespread patriarchal society around me. That does not mean my life in Howrah – which most people still believe is a part of the Kolkata City (it’s not; both of them are separated by River Ganges) – was extremely discriminating from the start. Childhood was more or less the same for me and my brother, who was three years older than me.
My name is Salima Ahmed from Basra city of Iraq. I grew up in Basra. My father was one of the closest friends of Saddam Hussein. My mother is a somewhat modern woman. She works at the government's department of state. The upbringing of children in my country, especially in my family is quite different from others. From the very first days of my life, I had the chance of listening to the beautiful sounds of the instrument which is known as "Oud". My father was a very good "Oud" player, but he also had some political activities.
Bakhtarian from Iran. I grew up in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran. My family is a somewhat modern family. My father died when I was 10 years old. He was a trooper during the war between Iran and Iraq. He was murdered on the border between the two countries. We never did find the body of my father, but the death of my father was a very big lesson for me and my family.
As a kid, or as a young woman in Israel, you believe you can become anything. You are taught to believe you can be anything you dream of. Not many people know that, but women at the Israeli army can be pilots, women can be Special Forces, women can take part in the Intelligence corps. Women can have meaningful service as commanders or officers. We are allowed to do anything men can do, and we do it. We do it well.
I grew up in the tropics of Mexico. It is located in the southeast of this huge country. The current population is around two million habitants. Unlike northern Mexico. Here, economic development is slower. Although the nation's oil is located in the Gulf of Mexico. Everything is exported to the north. However, I can assure you that where we were born, we are fortunate.
Being a celebrity is not easy; everyone knows something about you. People have said a lot about me, my family and my life. However, today I will share my story. I was born in a Royal family in Monaco, and you can imagine the pressure that comes with all that popularity from a young age. Everyone wants to know every bit of my life. Here is my life story...
Gоnе аrе thе negative реrсерtіоnѕ аnd challenges whісh trу to соntrоl uѕ, Nіgеrіаn women аrе fіеrсеlу fіghtіng for thеіr орроrtunіtіеѕ аnd winning. Our ѕtrеngth іѕ bеіng еxрrеѕѕеd іn vаrіоuѕ іtеrаtіоnѕ from entrepreneurship and саrееr gоаlѕ to nurturer, rоlе mоdеl аnd mеntоrѕhір rоlеѕ wе рlау dаіlу. Nіgеrіаn wоmеn аrе no lоngеr just ѕtrugglіng to survive, we are tаkіng сhаrgе!
Hello, my name is SoYul Lee; I am a North Korean defector. I was born in Tongchon near the coast. As a woman in North Korea, I did not grow up with sufficient amount of food. Our family commonly skipped meals and had to work most of the time. When I was around ten years old, my mother passed away from starvation. Then my father got married with my step-mother. I would go to school and learn basic principles of math, science, music, etc., and when I came back home, there would be nothing to eat. At the time, I really didn’t have any dream or goal; it was just living one day after another. My father and my step-mother would constantly fight, due to shortage of food.
My name is Abeer Abdallah. I was born in the outskirts of Gaza under Israeli Occupation in 2001. I grew up with only my mother and two older brothers, as my father was killed in an airstrike before I was born. Growing up as a girl during this time was especially difficult for me because I was never allowed to truly be myself. I saw little Israeli kids playing around, going wherever they want without worry of being harmed or imprisoned just because of their nationality. But my brothers and I always played in fear and distrust; constantly looking behind our backs and over our shoulders to see if military officials were coming to get us.
Saudi Arabia, a battleground for the oppressing males and the suppressed females, this is the general stereotype that revolves around the name of the Royal Kingdom. However, having spent more than 21 years of my life in that realm, my recollections of it are much different. I was born in the metropolitan city of Dammam which is known for its administrative importance for the country. Even though my memories of that place are quite vague, my mind still drags me back to the spacious roads my family and I would drive through and the broad, blue beaches that spread an earthy aroma all around.
I grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, and in my Zulu culture, we know that the toughest of all warriors in our history, King Shaka Zulu, was made so by his mother, Queen Nandi. She adored her son, and made history by raising him into the man he became. She advised his war strategies, and each of his successes expanded the Zulu people’s territory and influence across the land. In our history, women were regarded as strategic masterminds, and men executed their strategies down to the letter, from the family to the political level. In many traditional households, women still have the last say, although this has been diluted over time, as men used to believe that women were more closely connected to nature and the spirits, and therefore our counsel was sought and seen as the counsel of the spirits themselves.
Hi, I am here to share how my life as a woman in Korea is to you out there. Let me briefly introduce myself first. I am an 18-year-old Korean girl, living in a small city near the capital city of South Korea, Seoul. I went to a Women’s high school and now I go to one of the most famous universities in my country, majoring in engineering. Regarding my personality, I am very outgoing and extroverted, so I enjoy hanging out with my friends a lot. Lastly, I have a boyfriend, with whom I have been together for a little bit less than a year. Ok, so I guess that was enough for a brief explanation about myself.
I grew up in the backwoods of New Jersey, in a small town in Sussex County. This part of the state tends to get forgotten, overshadowed by the cities clustered near New York City and Philadelphia, and by the Jersey Shore. My brothers and I, with our bikes and stick swords, would explore the trails that wound through the woods in our town. When we were young, there was no difference between my brothers and I. As we grew things changed. My friends drifted away from adventures outside and my brothers, younger and older, became reluctant to bring me along.
One day, things started to change when Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state of the Vatican city-state came to visit the camp. I really want to thank Pope Francis, as I was born again. He gave me a hope, a dream, and a new life. I can see he feels the humanity in all of us. He came to help us all the way. He showed other countries how to help people, how to be kind, and acknowledged us as human beings. I was lucky to go to Rome with five other families from the refugee center. We were hosted by the Vatican and Sant'Egidio charity. The Vatican covered the expenses that we new arrivals would have otherwise incurred, while the Community of Sant'Egidio helped secure our housing, enroll us in Italian lessons, placed the minors in school, and found employment for the adults.

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Insights From The Project

  • I really liked the project and it was actually really inspiring! I love writing and this was a great and motivational subject to write about, so I was really on a roll :-)

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    - camillamalm
  • You have a great quality in you the best of luck for the good work you're doing.

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    - malaikaziaa
  • I admire this project, it's like a little light during this period of virus, so I got really motivated, thank you too.

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    - mardiyanyana
  • Hi Matt! That sounds amazing, I would love to write something like that for you, I really like the concept you have created and think that it is really inspiring.

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    - luce_stepankova
  • I'm not asking for more money, I just wanted to tell you about it, as I told you, I feel a lot of passion, talking about this that I wrote 9 or 10 pages.

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    - darix_meraki
  • And thank you for making it possible for the silent women out there and for voicing out opportunity for them too.

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    - soniasingh925
  • Thanks for putting me on, on this project. It brought back the memories of the good old days. Thank you so much for the privelage.

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    - anniewayne
  • Can't wait to start working on this, the topic really hits close to home.

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    - sofijasunflower
  • That's why I took some time before answering you. Cause it's more than just a paid article.

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    - sweetglue
  • That's amazing, I'm glad you're doing that! Women deserve to be empowered.

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    - ricosuave321

About The Collaborator

"A purposeful man finds opportunities. If there are no opportunities on his way, he creates his own." - Stockard Channing

Matthew Gates is from New Jersey in the United States and holds an Associate's degree in Social Science from Ocean County College and has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. After graduating, Matt lived in Israel for a year, where he taught English to Ethiopian-Israelis and learned about a wide-range of socio-economic issues of the country. Once he returned to the United States, using a skill he taught himself when he was younger, he became a programmer. Over the years, he has acquired various skills and is working in New Mexico remotely as a freelance writer, technical writer, web designer, and web developer.

He has a background in various jobs including security, retail, marketing, SEO, and writing. With a strong desire to remain connected to his passion, he became interested in understanding how people function in jobs, careers, and the workplace. As a result, he has been operating Confessions of the Professions for over 7 years which serves as publishing platform for various research articles from universities, marketing agencies, and freelance writers from around the world. He runs a business developing software-as-a-service (SaaS) for his company, NoteToServices, specializing in a variety of different web applications from taking notes, privatizing phone numbers, invoicing, API, web hosting, and WordPress plugins.

Although no crowdfunding was done to raise any funds for this project, Matt solely funded it through his life savings and was able to crowdsource through Fiverr, Facebook Groups, and networking to bring the project to life.

Matthew Gates

I have seen many strong women throughout my life, capable of many great things, and always going above and beyond. If women only knew how powerful they really were then the entire world would be forever changed. If women could somehow see all of the things they were capable of being and doing, could they be the change they want to see in the world? Whether a career woman, a housewife, or both, women inspire everyone around them just by being women. We often ask, "How do you do it?" To which she does not reply that she has some sort of secret power or formula, but rather, "I just do what I have to do."

Instead of being depressed while at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, I hired a few women to tell me their stories about what they were experiencing during COVID-19. After just a few stories, the project adapted into a look into the life of women around the world.

As I began to explain the project to women and what I was after accomplishing, I realized that it was these women who wanted this project to happen, as much as I wanted to see it happen. Without any of these women, this project would have never been possible. What started to be a fun and insightful project, with just 30 women from 30 different countries in 30 days, would soon grow to over 500 women from 200+ countries and various islands and territories throughout the world, and has turned into a project for women, by women, for the empowerment of women.

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