As we wind down Women’s History Month, I’m grateful for the wonderful events and presentations we’ve had. I had a chance to share my thoughts at an event last week, but I wanted to hear from more voices in our agency. I asked women from offices throughout RMA what they thought of this month and what it means to them.

April Lee

April Lee, Administrative Review Division
Kansas City, Missouri

“To me, Women’s History Month means acknowledgement. It’s a time where we acknowledge the contributions from women of all background and ethnicities and their impact to the landscape of Modern society. As a black woman, I often feel invisible or seen for the wrong reasons. In my ethnically diverse female friend group, I know that I am not alone in this feeling. We often talk about the accomplishments of our female ancestors, and we privately cheer each other on. Women’s History Month provides exposure and acknowledges the accomplishments of all women publicly and creates a safe space for everyone to cheer each other on. That opportunity is powerful and uplifting.”

Sandy Sanchez

Sandy Sanchez, Western Regional Compliance Office
Davis, California

“It’s important to celebrate Women’s History Month. Having been blessed to work in an environment that allowed remote work during covid, unlike myself my daughter will only ever experience seeing me in a safe and comfortable work setting. She gets to see her mom voicing concerns, leading others, and where the biggest hazard is dropping hot coffee on myself. She will not see the struggles and unsafe environments others experience. Women’s History Months is a great way to have open discussions. Not only will young girls have an opportunity to be reminded about the history of their right to vote, but this month will also be about discussing the continual fight for equal pay and safe working environments for women across the board.”

Shelly Bilderback

Shelly Bilderback
RMA Oklahoma City Regional Office

“It’s good to observe the month because like American activist Marian Wright Edelman said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” I think we need more women in all career fields and to accomplish that we need to study the stories of more women in history. Whether it be in science, technology, business, or sports, there are countless stories to be told of women who have contributed much and achieved greatness. It is said that women are featured less than 10% in school history books, but if young girls could see themselves on the pages of yesterday then perhaps, they will see themselves capable of doing great things. It would be beneficial for young girls and boys to learn the strength and determination of women. I want my daughter to know she can do anything and be fearless in pursuit of her goals.”

Tara Ponds

Tara Ponds, Product Administration & Standards Division
Kansas City, Missouri

“It’s a time to reflect on the challenges women have overcome. 50 years ago, professional career opportunities for women were limited. Today, women play a vital role in almost every sector of the workforce. These strides should be celebrated. Women have historically been overlooked by those in power. Trying to get equal pay has been a challenge. Trying to get jobs equal to their male counterparts has been a challenge, even though they’re qualified. Sexual harassment has been a huge challenge that women have historically faced in the workforce. And more than anything, women have had to strive to not be looked at as just a woman in the workforce. Decades ago, women were generally expected to be housewives raising babies. Today, there are women in the White House. Today, women have a voice that is being heard.”

I thank April, Sandy, Shelly and Tara for sharing their thoughts with us!

– Marcia

Marcia Bunger is the Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). Prior to her appointment, she served as a County Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency. A native South Dakotan, Bunger is also the owner and operator of a 2000-acre farm, a cum laude graduate of Augustana College, and the first member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and first woman to serve as RMA Administrator.