Celebrating International Women's Day--Amazing women doing incredible things

In a casual conversation today, I learned that some of my colleagues were unaware that today is International Women’s Day: a day that is celebrated as a holiday in some countries and passes by largely un-noticed in others.

Whatever the official status of the day, it is a time when we can pause to reflect on the many gains that women have fought so hard to attain and that many today take for granted.

To have a profession I love, an independent voice, a right to vote and an opportunity to make a difference in the world by working for the International Fund for Animal Welfare is not something I take lightly – rather it is something for which I am grateful each and every day.

And I am not alone.

My colleagues include:

Grace Gabriel who leads IFAW Asia and is making real headway in bringing a new animal welfare ethic to China. It is extraordinary to hear the voices of Chinese people rise up through the social media to demand a ban on farming bears for their bile and for an end to dog culls as a means of population control.

Masha Vorontsova of IFAW Russia whose efforts have seen an end to the Russian White Sea white coat harp seal hunt and a ban on the winter den hunt of hibernating bears.

Celine Sissler-Bienvenu from our French office, who is just today heading home from Cameroon where she was leading a team to uncover the full horror of the slaughter of hundreds of elephants in Bouba Ndjida. 

And Katie Moore, whose Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team worked day and night to save as many animals as possible in the record common dolphin stranding event we just witnessed on Cape Cod.

That is just a small sample of the incredible women I have the privilege of working alongside, not to mention the amazing women on my team who inspire me each and every day. So today I celebrate their achievements as well as all those who came before.

And I commit myself to do all I can to pave the way for those who do not yet have access to the freedom I have that allows me to live the life that I am lucky enough to be living.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime