My Name Is Not ‘Ma’: Why Street Harassment Is Everyone’s Problem

*This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post*

god bless u

Image courtesy of Rob Bliss/Hollaback

If you’ve ever walked down a NYC block it is likely that you’ve heard “Hey yo, ma, can I holler at you for a sec?” or “ Damn, ma, you’re fine,” or “God bless you, ma,” or “But why aren’t you smiling?” as if women walk around all day smiling for no reason at all. If you haven’t been the victim of catcalling, then consider yourself lucky, but the reality for many women is that they’ve experienced some form of street harassment.

We are disrespected almost every day by men who feel they have a right to talk to us, approach us, or even go so far as to touch us without permission. Men, who believe we should feel flattered because they’ve noticed us or given us a compliment. From the time a woman walks out the door of her home in the morning, be it walking to the corner bodega or to school, she is forced to dodge the unsolicited advances from men just to keep herself safe and we are taught do so from a very early age.

By the time a young girl hits puberty she is faced with having to deal with unwanted sexual attention and harassment by her peers and older men alike. As she gets older and enters womanhood the harassment continues, and instead of educating boys and men on how to treat women, women are taught to accept and deal with it. It’s the reason we cross to the other side of the street when we see a group of men together. It’s the reason why we’ll speed walk like we’re preparing for an event at the next Olympic Games when a man approaches and begins walking alongside us. We’ve been taught to ignore it while our male counterparts haven’t been taught anything at all.

Women are not afforded the opportunity to express their feelings when confronted with harassment. Why? Because a woman who defends herself or vocalizes her discomfort risks the chance of the incident escalating by either being verbally abused by the harasser or even experiencing a possible physical threat. Because you know, “You wasn’t all that anyway, b*tch.” The thing is, women have a right to defend themselves and click here to read the rest

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The FIERCE Woman 1 yr. Anniversary Keynote Speakers & Honorees

raygridRaygrid Calderon

In 2013, Latina techie, Raygrid Calderon launched her mobile application, DreemKaCHer, under her new start up tech company DreemKaCHer ECLECTIC. The app made its debut on Apple’s iOS platform as a business networking tool for entrepreneurs, musicians, students and the creative mind. Those looking to get booked or connected are called ‘Dreemers’, while those looking for products and services are known as ‘Kachers’. The dynamic allows a balance between users on the interface where each person’s profile serves as an interactive resume. The company also provides users with information and tips to help people start their business while helping inspire and motivate those in unconventional working fields.

Maribel Rivera, Marketing ConsultantMaribel Rivera

Maribel Rivera is a Marketing Brand Specialist focused on creating brand stories that influence for clients that include not only global organizations but small businesses and individuals. Maribel develops brand strategies so that a company’s brand touch-points (corporate identity, product design, web site, online marketing, traditional advertising, PR and word of mouth) all work in harmony to create a positive perception in the mind of clients and prospects.

A person of action, Maribel has developed strategies to attain her goals including learning to listen instead of speak. She is considered a social connector constantly networking, meeting new people and seeing what she could do for others. While being a single mom raising two sons of her own and taking in six other boys, Maribel climbed the corporate jungle gym moving through the ranks from secretary at 19 to VP of Marketing & Events prior to starting her own company in 2013. Maribel sits on the board of three associations – Women in eDiscovery, which is focused on developing women both professionally and personally and ARMA Metro NYC, an association for records and information management professionals and ACEDS NY Metro, an association which promotes e-discovery competence and professional development. She is currently working with a group to create mentoring programs in technology for young adults. In her spare time, Maribel can be found at the gym or shoe shopping.

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.” ― Max DePree

EVENTS: The FIERCE Woman 1 Yr. Anniversary

On April 13th, The FIERCE Woman™ (TFW) officially turned one. To celebrate this milestone we will be hosting our 1 yr. anniversary celebration and awards ceremony this Sunday, April 26th at an undisclosed location in the Bronx. The invite only event was personally planned by TFW founder & Executive Director, Nancy Arroyo Ruffin who was very selective about who would attend. When asked how the attendees were selected she told us “I wanted to share this milestone with women who have supported The FIERCE Woman this past year by attending one of our past events. These are the women who have made The FIERCE Woman such a success and this was my way of saying thank you.” 

This year’s keynote speakers and honorees are Raygrid Calderon and Maribel Rivera, two women who exemplify everything a F.I.E.R.C.E. woman should be. Raygrid is a Latina applications developer and Maribel is a marketing brand guru. These women will be honored for their contributions in business & technology and will also be sharing their success stories with the attendees. Check back with The FIERCE Woman next week for all the highlights of the event.  

 

This event is being sponsored by the following:

 

Arts by Mia

Beauty, Brains, & Blogging

Cake Pops by Keyla

Nails by Jassy

LatinosNYC

Wendy Angulo Productions

SP72

To learn more about our sponsors please visit their websites by clicking on the links above.

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Event: The FIERCE Woman 1 Yr. Anniversary Brunch & Awards Ceremony


In April of last year what started out as a small idea while sitting in my downtown Manhattan office to host an event where I could connect and unite women to celebrate everything that makes us FIERCE evolved into The FIERCE Woman Foundation. Last year we produced 3 events each of which sold out. This month we will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary and I could not be a prouder of what we have created. Though still in her infancy, The FIERCE Woman Foundation is committed to change the way women perceive themselves and each other. We are an unstoppable force. We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends. We are business women, entrepreneurs, leaders, coaches. For a very long time women have been taught to believe that it is almost impossible to have both successful personal lives as well as professional lives. I am here to tell you that it is possible to have both and to also live the life that you’ve always dreamed of because I am living proof.

Please join me  April 26, 2015 at the Mott Haven Bar & Grill as I celebrate the The FIERCE Woman One Year Anniversary Brunch & Awards Ceremony. This year’s theme is “I Am Every Woman: Celebrating the FIERCE Woman in All of Us” because women no longer have to choose between roles. We can do it all if we choose to.

We will be honoring two phenomenal women who are making great strides in business and technology. These women are FIERCE women determined to make their dreams come true and are doing just that. In addition to being honorees they will also share their personal stories of success. They will wow you with their sheer will to get things done by any means possible. Where most people find an excuse they find a solution. They will share with you their pearls of wisdom on how to make it in business and succeed as a woman.

This is a very intimate event and only a limited amount of tickets are being made available to the general public. Once all tickets have been sold there will be no additional tickets and absolutely no tickets will be available for sale at the door. To purchase tickets please visit: www.tfwturnsone.eventbrite.com

Your ticket includes a pre-fixed brunch and your choice of unlimited mimosas, sangria, or non-alcoholic drink (for the duration of the event), complimentary manicures by Nails by Jassy, sweet treats provided by Cake Pops by Keyla, and unlimited access to some of today’s most influential women in business. Bring your business cards and charm and be prepared to mingle with some very successful women. Please note that this is a FEMALE ONLY event.

Thank you to all who have supported us this past year. I look forward to seeing you all and celebrating this milestone with you.

With love

Nancy A. Ruffin, Founder, The FIERCE Woman