GEN in Houston: Marissa Marquez on How to See Other Women as Allies

Contributed by: Marissa Marquez, We Are Girls Houston Host Committee Member


Do you know Debbie Dimaio? How about Oprah Winfrey?


I am sure you have heard of Oprah, the world’s richest TV personality. According to a podcast I recently listened to, called, “Making of Oprah,” Debbie was the person who encouraged Oprah to submit an audition tape to a Chicago news station, which was searching for a daytime show host. Debbie became Oprah’s executive producer and as you know, the rest is history.


At this moment in the podcast, I said to myself, “Of course! It had to be a woman who helped another woman succeed. Girls rock!” This moment also confirmed for me that when women come together and help each other, they can accomplish anything.


A recent PBS Parents article stated that some young girls between the ages of 7 and 10 are taught to compete with and reject each other. By the time girls are in 3rd and 4th grade, gossiping about other kids becomes the connecting agent of many friendships, which can become a problem.


I say, let’s teach girls at a young age that as they grow up to be women, other women will be their most valuable allies. I offer the following for girls to think about as they transition into womanhood.


1. Be Kind

It sounds simple, but kindness can go a long way. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Be remembered as a kind person to all the girls you encounter.


2. Be Confident

It starts when we’re young girls. Some girls start sentences with, “I’m not sure if this is a good idea, but…” Instead, girls should speak confidently, and encourage other girls to do the same.


3. Stick- Up for One Another

At the 2016 Texas Conference for Women, Amal Clooney, a successful human rights attorney and activist said, “The worst thing that we can do as women is not stand up for each other. And this is something we can practice everyday no matter where we are or what we do. Because if we are united, there is no limit to what we can do.” Girls can stick-up for other girls by simply telling a naysayer, “you’re being mean,” or “be nice.”


4. Celebrate Each Other’s Successes

In 2015, at the Sportsperson of the Year Awards, Serena Williams, the number one female tennis player in the world said, “the success of every woman should be the inspiration to another.” Girls should be inspired by other girls’ successes. Girls should congratulate each other’s accomplishments, because it shows that together, girls can accomplish great things.


5. Encourage Each Other

Well, you can see what happens when girls encourage each other by looking at Debbie and Oprah. You may be encouraging a girl become the most influential woman in the world.


 Marissa Marquez was born and raised in Laredo, Texas and is a native-Spanish speaker. Marissa is an attorney, Human Resources professional, community volunteer, and cyclist. Marissa obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law. She currently works in the Human Resources department at Texas Children’s Hospital. Her maternal grandparents, former migrant workers, taught her the value of hard work and giving back to her community. Therefore, Marissa is a BikeHouston board member, an active member of the Houston Bar Association’s Gender and Fairness Committee and of the Houston LiveStock Show and Rodeo’s Wine Competition Committee. She volunteers with Neighborhood Centers Inc.’s, Immigration and Citizenship Forums and the United We Dream Houston chapter. Recently, Marissa was awarded the National Bike Summit Equity Scholarship by the League of American Bicyclists. She was 1 of 12 recipients nationwide.



Felicia Gonzalez