THE LATEST: An open letter on International Women’s Day from Tanager President Ana Bilik

by Ana Bilik, President, Tanager

A picture from my trip to India for International Women's Day in 2019 - I miss visiting with these ladies and our team!

Today, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, I reflect back on how I commemorated IWD in 2020, on the cusp of a pandemic that would change our very definition of normal. On this day last year, I sat on a panel with esteemed Tanager leaders and gender advisors Maureen Munjua, Sita Zougouri, and Caroline Mukeku. We talked about advances in women’s economic empowerment in the countries where we live, and the work that still needs to be done.

This year, we celebrate International Women’s Day differently. Our driving imperative throughout the pandemic has been to ensure the health and safety of Tanager staff members and people in the communities where we work. While we enjoy celebrating the women in our lives and the gender and social inclusion work that we’ve done in the past year, it’s more important to keep people safe and healthy, so that we can celebrate in person for years to come.

This year we are not traveling great or even short distances to get together in person. Our gatherings are more nuclear – with our immediate household members and pods, or virtually. This year, we approach IWD with a spirit of rest and restoration, recognizing the additional burden COVID-19 has had on women.

Today, I quietly celebrate all the women that I work with at Tanager, all the women in the communities where we work and our partner organizations, all the women who influence my life and career, and all the men who value and encourage these women – who all #ChoosetoChallenge traditions and biases so that women’s equality and equity become the new normal.

The IGNITE team took a moment this morning to reflect what IWD means for them individually. A lot of inspiring thoughts were shared and how individual experiences in our current and past shape our individual commitments to #choosetochallenge.
In India, Tanager consulted government regulations and small numbers of women farmers came together to celebrate International Women's Day