Our History – Women Deliver

Our History

Over the past decade, Women Deliver has been working at the forefront of the gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement. While we began as a 20th anniversary campaign for the neglected Safe Motherhood Initiative, with an exclusive focus on reproductive, maternal, and newborn health, we have evolved into an independent organization focusing on gender equality more broadly, while remaining strongly rooted in SRHR. A strong advocate, eminent convener, and effective communicator, Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization working in new ways across sectors and issue areas to advance solutions and action on gender equality and SRHR. We work within and outside the halls of power to make the economic and rights-based investment case to decision-makers and influencers globally.

Women Deliver’s direct advocacy has successfully influenced a range of policies and investments related to SRHR, gender equality, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and  Women Deliver’s compelling and positive communications continue to reach new audiences of advocates and changemakers. We collate the latest data and information and translate them into clear-sighted messages and tools, including reports, policy briefs, and infographics, to build the case for prioritizing gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women. When the data do not exist, we call for more attention to overlooked topics, encourage researchers to begin new studies, or partner with research entities to generate new evidence.

Beyond our own advocacy work, Women Deliver has bolstered the advocacy efforts of gender equality advocates around the globe. We have welcomed five classes of Young Leaders since 2010, working with 1,000 young advocates from 148 countries through our award-winning Young Leaders Program to strengthen their knowledge, skills, network, and resources to advocate for gender equality and SRHR. These young advocates have successfully influenced dozens of governments and organizational policies, agendas, and strategies at the global and national levels.

At the country level, Women Deliver helped establish Campaigns in Kenya and Senegal, where national coalitions have successfully encouraged decision-makers to influence policies and plans to advance gender equality.

Women Deliver has brought together hundreds of thousands of advocates to galvanize momentum and drive change for girls and women through our triannual Conferences and virtual convenings. Since 2007, Women Deliver has convened five Conferences, growing to the largest and most influential convening on gender equality in 2019 with more than 8,000 in-person participants and more than 125,000 virtual participants from 169 countries.

We have proven that direct advocacy, cross-sector partnerships, meaningful and authentic engagement of young people, strong evidence and communications, and strategic convenings have the power to make real and lasting change for girls and women, in all their intersecting identities.

Over a Decade of Impact

Became an Independent Organization

Women Deliver realized that it had an important role to play on our shared journey to achieving the MDGs, and that long-term advocacy for reproductive, maternal, and newborn health and rights is crucial to advancing progress toward a healthier, more equitable world for girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, everywhere.

Created a Private Sector Network: C-Exchange

Women Deliver engaged the private sector to build a new community of champions, called C-Exchange, to improve maternal health and access to reproductive health services globally. The alliance led to the creation of the Women Deliver Young Leader seed grant program, which provides multiple USD $5,000 seed grants to young people annually to support six-month projects aimed at advancing girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing in their communities.

Welcomed the Women Deliver Young Leader Class of 2013

100 Young Leaders from around the world were selected to participate in targeted programming featuring mentorship, skills training, and high-level public speaking opportunities on SRHR and maternal health.

Integrated Gender Equality into its Advocacy and SDGs

Women Deliver expanded its scope beyond maternal and reproductive health to gender equality. Simultaneously, in 2014 and 2015, Women Deliver supported the process leading up to the negotiation and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helping ensure the centrality of gender.

Launched the Deliver for Good Campaign

Established in 2016 with 10 founding partners, the Deliver for Good Campaign applies a gender lens to the SDGs and promotes evidence-based policies, programming, and investments in girls and women. Since launching, the Campaign has grown to more than 450 supporting organizations and two national campaigns in Kenya and Senegal committed to mainstreaming gender equality across the SDGs via convening, capacity-sharing, and campaigning.

Increased Advisory Roles

Women Deliver began advising several multinational companies on how to apply a gender lens to their corporate strategies, including Johnson & Johnson and Unilever, participating in UN-led multilateral alliances, and providing strategic guidance to countries working to establish feminist foreign policies.

Launched the Humanitarian Advocacy Program

Women Deliver launched the Humanitarian Advocates Pilot Program, which provides direct support to five women-led civil society organizations (CSOs) in Lebanon that are at the forefront of humanitarian response in their communities. The program also provides guidance to support the humanitarian sector at large in delivering the strongest possible response for girls and women in crisis settings.

Convened the 5th Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, Canada

With more than 8,000 advocates from over 165 countries on site and over 200,000 people joining around the world through satellite events and the virtual Conference, WD2019 became the largest convening for gender equality in the world. The Conference connected grassroots advocates and decision makers, fueled over USD 1 billion in global and country-level investments, and shined a global spotlight on the importance of gender equality.

Welcomed the Women Deliver Young Leader Class of 2020

Women Deliver welcomed the largest and most diverse new class of Women Deliver Young Leaders to date, made up of 300 young changemakers from 96 countries around the world who are committed to advancing gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including on the frontlines of both the COVID-19 response and worldwide movement for racial justice.

Launched Women Deliver’s 2021-2025 Strategic Framework

Through a year-long consultative process with partner organizations and experts, Women Deliver launched a new Strategic Framework that is grounded in a human rights approach, guided by anti-colonialist, intersectional feminist principles, and deepens our focus in Health and SRHR, Women’s Economic Rights and Justice, and Climate Action. A world where the guaranteed health and rights of girls and women is possible, and through its new 2021-2025 Strategic Framework, and alongside partners, Women Deliver hopes to achieve this goal.

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