March 8 is when the world celebrates International Women’s Day, so we spoke to several of the female business owners in our South Slope community to get their thoughts on the day, and what it means to be a female business owner in 2013.
Jennifer Kahrs, Owner of The Shadowbox Shop
As a female carpenter, and business owner, I no longer believe that business is an all boys club. I see strong women everywhere pursuing their dreams and achieving what would have been impossible without all of the women before us who fought for our rights. I am grateful to everyone woman who has fought for equality between the sexes, and I am grateful most especially to my mother, who raised me as my brothers equal.
Valerie Randazzo, Owner of Leathernecks Tattoo
I’ve never considered what it means to be a “female business owner”. I woke up one day and decided that there were no obstacles that would stop me from going forward with my goals, and I’ve stayed strong with that thought since. Each day I admire and respect my mother and grandmothers, knowing how hard they worked and still work for their families, setting the perfect example for me. I guess growing up with brothers, I always stayed on my toes to not be overshadowed by the boys! Being successful, male or female, is something that comes through extremely hard work and dedication. I am thankful for the women who fought for equality, and am happy to represent that today.
Liena Zagare, Owner of Corner News Media
I love International Women’s Day – I grew up celebrating it, and it was traditional for all women to get flowers. It is good to have a day to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go advocating for women’s rights to be treated as equals. I feel that this year has been a very interesting one for women – from the discussion on whether we can have it all, the work – life balance, persistance of pay inequality, to the high profile roles of Marissa Mayers and Sheryl Sandberg, to the basics of having access to education and protection from abuse in places like Afghanistan.
I admire greatly the many women small-business owners I know. It takes creativity, attention to detail, lots of systematically doing work that one often does not want to do, and keeping a smile on your face. We often seem to start businesses at the same time we have children – there must be something there – a newfound strength, determination, trust in ones self maybe? Maybe we are more confident. Or maybe we just never sleep. Regardless, I would not change it for anything!
Alice Piacenza, Owner of The Ploughman
To me, to be a business owner in 2013 is to realize a dream I had as a young girl. I always thought that by owning your own business, (particularly if it involves something you feel passionately about–for me that is all things culinary) that you would be able to realize your own true creative expression. Indeed that is the case. It’s hard. Though, I’ve been the boss of many things: in the corporate world, non-profit world, my own household (to a certain extent). But, to own and run your own business tries your true metal. It feels good.
Kelly Robertson, Owner of A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn
International Women’s Day is so important because it reminds us of how far women have come since the early 1900’s. I can’t imagine the challenges they had to face on a daily basis and feel so lucky to be living in a time and in a country where I can own my own business and my options are limitless! It still amazes and angers me, however, that in 2013 and in the U.S.,there is still a pay disparity between men and women. When we can finally say that women and men earn the same pay for the same job (not 78 cents on the dollar), we will really have something to celebrate. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 100 years!
Teresa Lagerman, Owner of Brooklyn Makers
Small business owners always wear a lot of hats. We do a lot of jobs. For women business owners, it usually means wearing even more hats. In my case, there are two kids under the age of 5 in the mix. On the other hand, I do get some flexibility that allows me to spend more time with them, so it’s a lovely chaotic balance!