Women Deliver 2023: Participants share takeaways

By Jane Babirye
On 22 July 2023 at 07:19

For five days, Kigali had the honor of hosting more than 6000 individuals from 170 countries, all converging with a shared purpose of seeking solutions to address gender equality issues. The Women Deliver Conference, officially opened by the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, at BK Arena on July 17, 2023, surpassed participants’ expectations, making it a resounding success.

During the conference, IGIHE spoke with some of the conference participants and captured their key takeaways.

Lilliane Umutoni, a participant from Rwanda who attended a session on ’The Power of Choice: Fostering Partnership to Realize Bodily Autonomy’ hosted by UNFPA, expressed deep gratitude for the conference.

"I’m incredibly grateful to have attended this conference. Until today, I wasn’t aware of my own power to positively impact someone else’s life. I now realize that from where I stand, I can make a difference and my pledge is to empower a girl somewhere, in whatever way possible," she shared.

Line Aggernaes, a senior advisor in sexual and reproductive health and rights from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, hailed the decision to host the conference in Africa.

She appreciated the diversity among the participants and acknowledged that often, despite holding numerous conferences and meetings and raising funds to support gender rights and SRHR, there remains uncertainty about whether those in need receive the necessary support.

"Being here today, seeing the real people at the grassroots, talking to them, and understanding their needs and aspirations is truly enlightening," Line expressed.

Shaille Chaundhary, a campaigner with ’Dalit Lives Matter’ from Nepal, was impressed by the passion African women exhibited for their rights. She stated, "Experiencing Africa firsthand and witnessing the passion African women have for their rights is truly inspiring. Seeing things from their perspective changes how we perceive the continent."

Caroline Bigirimana, an advocate for sexual and reproductive health and research from Burundi, was delighted to connect with fellow women who share the same cause. "It’s heartening to see girls and women gaining access to knowledge about their bodies and the choices available to them," she shared.

Even Abraham Famanou from Chad, a male participant, recognized the transformative power of the conference. He admitted that his understanding of gender equality and his role in promoting it has evolved. "I’ve come to understand that as a man, I play a crucial role in gender equality and combating gender violence. From now on, I’ll value and respect everyone regardless of their gender," he asserted.

The Women Deliver Conference which was concluded on 20th July 2023 featured side events, conferences, and sessions focusing on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), gender equality, LGBTQ+, youth involvement, and other related topics. Additionally, participants had opportunities to network during breaks, and they were entertained with art, music, movies, comedy, and games at various booths.

The conference’s impact has been profound, igniting a sense of empowerment, solidarity, and a deeper commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s rights worldwide. The participants’ collective efforts and shared experiences during these five days in Kigali will undoubtedly pave the way for transformative changes in the quest for a more equitable and inclusive world.

The conference brought together participants from across the world.
The Women Deliver Conference was concluded on 20th July 2023.