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Brief escapes (photos by @sfkite)

Brief escapes (photos by @sfkite)


Since 2015 WOW WOMAN® project has been amassing inspiring stories from all over the globe with the goal of celebrating women behaving extraordinarily and breaking all sorts of stereotypes. Collectively they paint a picture of a special strength, a force of nature. For each feature I spent time with the individual, learned something interesting and worth sharing. As an ensemble, the stories show that women are at our best when we help each other, learn from and mentor one another. My hope is to uplift and inspire contemporaries as well as future generations of girls to pick up a passion/hobby, veer off the beaten path, reinvent their professional careers or pursue something uniquely theirs.

WOW WOMAN® initiative finds strength in diversity, with no cultural, religious, age or political boundaries, thriving on distinct voices, backgrounds and life experiences. I choose to focus exclusively on women because female solidarity is beautiful and very much needed in this day and age. As women's rights activist Alice Stokes Paul described: "I always feel that the movement is sort of a mosaic – each one of us puts in a little stone".

This project and collection of stories are my contribution to the mosaic, a way to illuminate, reflect and uplift the work of many wonderful women. I invite you to enjoy the insights, share your own, and keep lifting each other up.


Olga Shmaidenko | founder & photographer, WOW WOMAN®


About Me...The world that shaped me and thus the WOW WOMAN project...

An immigrant twice over: Ukraine - Canada - New York City, I was brought up, molded and released into the wild single-handedly by a WOW Woman mom (cue in "Just the two of us"). Prior to photographing wow women all over the globe (see the map below), I completed Biochemistry/Econ degree at a Canadian university and dedicated almost a decade to an HIV vaccine R&D organization in NYC, while simultaneously volunteering nights and weekends at an ER in upper Manhattan, advocating for vulnerable populations (primarily female survivors) immediately following domestic violence or sexual assault incidents. I've witnessed women struggling and persevering and as a result my admiration for women's strength and sheer will power to keep fighting knows no bounds. Whenever I'm down, I tend to look at the mosaic above to lift my spirits and keep hope alive. I highly recommend it.  - Olga.

where is WOW WOMAN?(rather, where isn't WOW WOMAN? Click below to find out)