Eight badass New York women who are making a difference

Written by
Taya Kenny
Women's March 2017 in NYC
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

Women’s History Month is in March, but these women stand strong all year long. You don’t need to crack open a textbook to see the impact women are making on NYC history, there are some super inspiring women working right now to make the city a better place every day. Here are some awesome and impactful women you should know about:

1. Connie Charney- founder of Food for Thoughts cards.

Charney has been feeding the homeless population in Penn Station for years by packing peanut butter sandwiches to give out to the hungry on her daily commute. To further her reach, a few years ago she created “Food for Thought” cards, which donates the cash equivalent of a PBJ with every purchase of her unique brand of greeting cards to organizations that fight food insecurity in NYC. The cards are even PBJ shaped, and are sold online ( and in retailers city-wide.  

2. Noelle Santos - literary advocate who successfully crowdfunded the Bronx’s first independent bookstore.

For the past year, Santos has been working diligently to raise the money needed to open a "goddamn bookstore" in her native borough. She recently killed the goal of raising $100,000 towards the project, with 23 days ahead of schedule. These funds will go toward building "The Lit Bar” in the South Bronx. After the closing of Barnes and Noble in 2016, the opening of this space will restore the only bookstore to the region. 

3. Pam Elam, President of the “Monumental Change” campaign. 

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund Inc was established with the goal of building the first ever monument to a woman to Central Park, which currently houses 23 statues of men and represents zero women. The project recently received a $500K donation toward this goal, has raised about $170K in individual donations, and even got some support from a local girl scout troupe. In addition to this latest project, Pam has been working with women’s rights for over 50 years and has been instrumental in passing legislation in NYC to recognize women’s contributions to the city. Donate and get updates on their website (

4. Christy Aborn - Founder and CEO of “The Neighborhood Company”. 

Looking to support your local mom-and-pops beyond Small Business Saturday? On March 1st, Aborn launched The Neighborhood, a community-sponsored program that, for a $20-a-month membership, gives access to $200 worth of rebates toward local bars, restaurants and much more. The project intends to drive traffic to small businesses, supporting the local joints and keeping our areas unique and big-box free. It is currently piloting in Astoria and Long Island City, but if successful will expand to other areas as well.

5. Samaya Clark-Gabriel- 7-year-old basketball phenomenon.

Born in Brooklyn, Clark-Gabriel was the youngest student ever to be admitted to her Prospect-Lefferts Gardens school’s basketball program, and now is competing against much older students. After a video of her dribbling skills went viral, over 2 million people have now witnessed her prodigy-like prowess on the court. All this, and she’s still getting recognized for her academic performance, receiving certificates in Math and Science and being awarded Student of the Month. That's a lot to be proud of, especially considering that for most of us, the most productive extra-curricular thing we've done in the past year is brunch

6. Kristen Visbal - visual artist and activist. 

Visbal has gotten a lot of attention in the last few days for creating the sculpture of a girl installed in front of the Wall Street Bull in honor of International Women’s Day. Titled “Fearless Girl”, the piece was organized as a surprise installation by State Street Global Advisors and McCan New York, and is meant to "send a message about workplace gender diversity and encourage companies to recruit women to their boards." Check out more work from this talented sculptor on her website ( 

7. Emma Watson - feminist literature Easter bunny.  

In the past few years, Hermione Granger has asserted herself as a crucial feminist advocate and activist, using NYC institutions as her canvas. Since the election, she has distributed a much-needed dosage of feminism to our daily grind by acting as a Grand Central advice giver, and a book-hider at both the NYC Subway system and, as of yesterday, around famous statues of iconic women

8. Everyone else

From our badass women bartenders who keep an eye out for the creeps for us while mixing up a mean cocktail. To women chefs and restaurateurs who bring us great nights out on the town. Teachers, nurses, Park-Slope moms, any moms. Women who call out man-spreaders. Every woman who has contributed their underwear to the ceiling at Jeremy’s Ale House...the list goes on and on.  Just getting through a day as a woman in this city takes a lot of bravery, so if you have chosen to live here, we salute you, brave NYC women everywhere!

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