ы is a vowel that doesn't exist in English. ы in English would kind of sound like "Ayee" as one continuous vowel. When speaking Russian at a nominal speed, ы and и are difficult to distinguish, and will rely on your personal knowledge of regular and gender based conjugation to differentiate them in your head.
As a general rule plurals(when there is more than one) in English don't get articles like a/an/the. One exception as far as I am aware is if it is part of a name - The Pixies, The Rolling Stones, The Avengers. Another exception is when you are pointing out a specific group e.g. Yes officer, these are the women who did it, but now you have classified them as a singular group(as one) as opposed to a group of women(as many individuals).