Things to know about Women Deliver Conference due in Kigali next week

By Jane Babirye
On 15 July 2023 at 03:50

From July 17th to 20th, 2023, Rwanda will have the honor of hosting the sixth edition of the Women Deliver Conference (WDC) in Kigali. This global event, known as the world’s largest conference on gender equality in the 21st century, will bring together thousands of participants from around the world, both physically and virtually.

The Women Deliver Conference was first established in 2007 in London, UK, in response to alarmingly high rates of maternal mortality. Since then, it has become a platform for advocating for women’s rights and addressing critical issues related to gender equality. Each edition of the conference has focused on specific themes and has achieved significant milestones in advancing women’s health and empowerment.

In 2010, the conference was held in Washington DC, with a primary emphasis on youth engagement. It provided a platform for one hundred young leaders to share their expertise and call upon decision-makers to prioritize the advancement of girls and women’s health and rights.

This event marked an important step in amplifying the voices of the younger generation in shaping policies and programs.

The third edition of the conference took place in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, made a groundbreaking declaration that family planning is a human right. This declaration brought global attention to the importance of ensuring access to reproductive health services and empowering women to make informed choices about their bodies.

In 2016, the WDC held its fourth edition in Copenhagen, Denmark, shortly after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference underscored the critical role of advancing girls and women’s health and rights across all SDGs to drive progress for all. It served as a platform for discussing strategies to integrate gender equality into the global development agenda.

The fifth edition of the Women Deliver Conference took place in 2019 in Vancouver, Canada, where grassroots advocates and decision-makers connected, leading to over USD 1 billion in global and country-level investments. This event highlighted the importance of gender equality and provided a global spotlight on the challenges and opportunities for women’s empowerment.

Now, Rwanda has become the first African country to host the Women Deliver Conference. The theme for the 2023 conference is "Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions for Sustainable Gender Equality." This edition aims to bring together the most powerful voices of the feminist community, representing diverse perspectives and experiences, to find innovative solutions for achieving sustainable gender equality.

Since its inception, the Women Deliver Conference has focused on three main aims: sexual and reproductive health and rights, championing the leadership of grassroots advocates, and connecting advocates with decision-makers while sharing key advocacy strategies. These pillars have been instrumental in driving progress and fostering collaboration among stakeholders dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls worldwide.

Distinguished guests, including top government officials in Rwanda, will grace the conference with their presence. The event is expected to attract over 6,000 in-person attendees at the Kigali Convention Centre, with an additional 200,000 participants from across the globe joining virtually through the conference’s official website or by downloading the WD 2023 mobile app.

The Women Deliver Conference 2023 promises to be a pivotal moment in the global movement for gender equality.

It presents a unique opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge, foster collaborations, and devise strategies that will create lasting impact and advance the rights and well-being of women and girls worldwide.

As the world looks forward to this significant event, all eyes are on Rwanda and the transformative discussions and outcomes it will generate.

The conference will take place at Kigali Convention Centre.