Looking back on this year stirs complex feelings for me. During a year we were supposed to celebrate and advance women’s rights and power, we instead witnessed women put at risk as the majority at the frontlines of healthcare, losing jobs at higher rates than men, forced into lockdown with abusers — all against a backdrop of rising conflict that pushes more women into instability.
But even up against these big challenges, there are people who are committed to working towards a world that’s more equal, peaceful, and prosperous. Everywhere, there are doers, givers, movers, caregivers, protectors, and bridge builders, part of a global effort to realize gender equity. I count every person in our global community among these people.
And so it was appropriate that in this year of women being so clearly at the forefront of healing, of good leadership, and of challenging injustice the United States elected our first woman Vice President, our first Black Vice President, and our first Vice President of South Asian descent. That milestone happened because of the tireless efforts of women leaders like Stacey Abrams, who ensured that people all over this country had their voice heard in the elections. In all those who mobilized to get out the vote, I see the same spirit as the Change Agents who graduate from our program, who work in their countries to help women register to vote, learn their rights, and protect them.
It took the mobilization of thousands to get out the vote in the US, and it took the mobilization of millions to respond to the pandemic and the economic fallout around us. None of us could change the whole world, but we could each change a world.
It is a reminder that the actions we take or do not take will determine what happens for women in the coming days — and even the coming years.
Of course, we at Women for Women International cannot know how the distant future will change, but through any change, there is a constant thread woven: women. Their courage carries us. Their resilience binds communities together. Our mission to strengthen this thread will always be here, centering us, pulling us forward.
This year tugged fiercely at that string, and women felt that tension. Many of you were able to provide support to ease the burden on women survivors of war and conflict while many of you were also dealing with this tension yourselves.
Ultimately, what safeguarded the unbreakable thread of women and their futures are people like you, far and wide, who support the mission in one way or another. Having you with us in any capacity is all we need to make the thread that women have woven unbreakable.
Thank you for weaving the future with us.
As our reach extends further, our momentum builds, and the patchwork of our global community grows, Women for Women International is grateful for you — for people who invest in women’s power when women need it most.
It is because of your tireless passion and investment in our work and women survivors of war and conflict everywhere that we can continue to fight for global gender equality. You supported women like Saratu, passing knowledge about equal rights to her daughters. You helped women like Gul Jan, a Change Agent whose business helps more women earn their own income. You invested in the power of graduates like Berthilde and Jeanette, who are part of a massive mask-making effort to protect their communities.
When we join forces with women who have survived some of the most perilous conflicts in global history, we are unstoppable.
Thank you for helping women weave the unbreakable thread through the fabric of our organization and our world.