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Inspiring Words from Speakers and Honorees at the 2007 National NOW Conference and Young Feminist Leadership Institute

Never . . . as an indigenous woman did I ever have to face a government who would decide for me what I could and could not do with my body. Because in our culture, the matters of women are left up to women and they are not thrust out into the political arena for political and public scrutinization. . . . What we want to do is say 'these are our issues, let's do this together, we'll support you, you support us, and lets move a feminist woman's agenda forward for all women.'

South Dakota Native American Activist Charon Asetoyer

The more I write, the less I care about the way I look. . . . The more you write your story, the more you define who you are without everybody's gaze. It's your gaze.

Author Angie Cruz

For every advance we make, there is a pushback. And we've seen that for 40 years. Every time we take a couple of steps forward, there's somebody right there ready to push us back. . . . [T]hey work hard with the media's help . . . to convince women, especially young women, that all the gains have been made. That there's nothing really left to be done. But we all know better, don't we? . . . As individuals, we are all powerful and strong. But when we do work like this collectively, when we band together, we really are unstoppable. We can do anything.

NOW President Kim Gandy

[On NOW leadership]
We learned how to speak, how to persuade, how to move people to action. And one of the most important things we learned was how to develop and empower new leaders, by offering people new opportunities and challenges and supporting them through those challenges. Kicking new people upstairs. . . . There is still, sadly, much to be done. Too much to be done--on all of the issues that affect women here and worldwide.

Former NOW President (1982-1985) Judy Goldsmith

We know that women sometimes need an extra push -- but we need to push them, because we need women in the positions to be making the policy decisions that are going to affect our families. . . As governor, if I do a parade and parents along the side push their little girls out, to say: 'Look, there's the governor!'-- it's not about me, it's about them. The implicit message is: 'That could be you one day'

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

There is a lack of positive roles on television for women. Add that to being plus sized, [and] I'm constantly getting roles with negative stereotypes. They want me to be depressed because I'm unhappy because I'm too big. They want me to be alone and I can't find a mate to love me because I'm not beautiful enough . . . I've had to turn down many roles because they're disrespectful, but I'm conscious about my image and what I'm portraying to the world. . . . Numbers don't define who you are -- whether it's your weight, your age or your zip code.

Plus-size Model and Actor Chenese Lewis

If it were not for all of your getting out there and pretty much raising hell when it comes to oppression . . . if it were not for that, then I would not have the inspiration that I have today to speak out.

Internet Peace Activist Ava Lowery

When we are united, we win. When we work together, we win. We are in search of a common agenda.

Founder of the Coalition of 100 Black Women Jewell Jackson McCabe

It astounds me, that without Title IX, most of my life's most precious moments would never have happened. . . . And interestingly, there is a distinct correlation between women's sports participation and their success in business. It's no coincidence that more than four out of five, or 82 percent of executive businesswomen played sports while growing up. And the vast majority say that lessons learned on the playing field have contributed to their success in business.

Olympic Gold Medalist and Business leader Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

[On why movies don't tell more women's stories]
[Men in Hollywood] have nothing to do except be ambitious. We make babies, we make beauty, we make dinner, we make homes, we make gardens, we make people happy. Men come to Hollywood and wake up every morning thinking 'My story needs to be told.'

Writer and Producer Jill Soloway

I want to play real women. I want to express myself from what I believe in. . . . It's disheartening to me to be in this business, and to see women just tolerate it, and not only tolerate it, but then to judge themselves and each other by these roles and images.

Actor (NYPD Blue, ER) Sherry Stringfield

We women are now learning that freedom is not free, and eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. . . . We will be respected, and we will begin by making sure that we respect ourselves, and that we respect our sisters. We will demand respect from the minority gender. Those who have problems with that, might as well get over it.

National Congress of Black Women Chair Dr. E. Faye Williams


Quotations complied by Jess Grunberg, Communications Intern

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