This story was originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of SHE Magazine.

Noushy Tavassoli

I am an architect and defied the stereotype that an immigrant woman can’t be successful in this male dominated world. It was hard to gain credibility and respect. I only would get jobs that used half my skills, so I worked to get accreditations that only a few people have in Canada. Today I work with the same men that openly said I wouldn’t make it. But I did—because I always believed in myself!

Rebecca Hare

People assume I am a ‘girly girl’ because I usually wear dresses or skirts to the office. In reality, I play soccer, run half-marathons, and watch way too much sports on TV. The highlight of my year is my annual March Madness trip. I wear skirts because I HATE shopping and can never find pants that fit. I always enjoy that moment when people finally get to know me and say “Oh, wow, you’re not at all who I thought you would be.” Exactly.

Leigh Naturkach

People who are childfree by choice are sometimes stereotyped as selfish. I defy this stereotype daily by taking care of my family, friends and neighbours. I invest time and money to worthy causes and am involved in my community. I am environmentally aware so future generations will have a healthy planet, and conduct myself conscientiously in spaces where children are present (like offering my seat to expectant mothers). And yes, I take care of myself. This isn’t selfish—this is responsibility.

Heather MacLellan

I am a “blonde.” The assumption I am “dumb” or “too pretty to do _______” continues to be a challenge. When I joined the Canadian Forces, people said “Really?! You?” The military is inherently a patriarchal organization, where “boys become men.” I was constantly challenged by social expectations. I faced the assumption that women in the military are weak. But I am strong and resilient. That’s why I continue to challenge the perceptions of the limitations of women.

Christine Aarlaht

Owner/ Technician, CT&G Automotive Specialists

I’ve always defied stereotypes, from the time I wanted to be a paleontologist until I opened my own automotive repair shop. Often I’m judged not only by my career choice, but also by the fact that I’m heavily tattooed. The common misconception is that I don’t have feelings, that I'm incredibly tough skinned (I can be), and that I’m a “dude.” In reality, I’m a loving, hardworking, compassionate woman with an insane amount of drive.

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