Our History – Women Deliver

Our History

In 2007 the maternal mortality rate was atrociously high. World leaders needed to step up, rally around the issue and commit to action. And, they needed a place to do it. To fill the void, the Women Deliver Conference was born.

Women Deliver debuted as a global conference in London in 2007, under the visionary leadership of Jill W. Sheffield. At the time it was described as a “groundbreaking” event and credited with igniting a movement that was desperately needed. In 2010 the organization lead the charge to put Millennium Development Goal 5 – Improve Maternal Health – on the global development agenda.

That same year Women Deliver piloted a Young Leaders Program, to elevate the incredible potential and passion of young advocates by providing them to skills-building training and access to platforms for them to share their voices and experiences. The Young Leaders Program has engaged 1,000 youth advocates under the age of 30 to date, representing more than 148 countries, supplementing and strengthening their work through online learning communities, high-level networking, speaking opportunities, and seed grants.

Today, Women Deliver is recognized as a key player and advocate for gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.

10 Years of Impact

Convened 1st Women Deliver Conference in London, UK

By bringing together 1,700 people and advocating with an investment case argument, Women Deliver got maternal health – MDG5 – back on the global agenda.

Became Independent Organization

Women Deliver realized it was more than a catchy phrase and a moment in time. Ongoing advocacy for maternal, sexual, a reproductive health rights was needed for the long run.

Partnered on CARMMA Campaign to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Africa

Alongside the African Union, UNFPA, and others, Women Deliver helped launched CARMMA with the theme “Africa cares: No woman should die while giving life.” Eventually, more than more than three dozen countries joined the effort.

Convened 2nd Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC

The event where, in addition to championing reproductive health issues with 3,400 attendees, Women Deliver also specifically invited and gave the floor to 100 young leaders.

Created Private Sector Network: C-Exchange

Women Deliver united key private sector companies working on maternal health and MDG5. The network ran for 6 years and initiated the Young Leaders seed grant program.

Incubated Catapult Crowdfunding Platform

Catapult was one of the first crowdfunding initiatives to support women’s projects exclusively. It provided funding to over 400 projects, reaching millions of girls and women before going independent in 2014.

Welcomed Young Leader Class of 2013

Women Deliver equipped these 100 young advocates with knowledge and skills and connected them to the platform, the people, and the resources to advocate for SRHR and maternal health.

Convened 3rd Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Now up to 4,500 attendees, Women Deliver launched a social enterprise competition and convinced the Prime Minister of Malaysia to announce that family planning was a human right from the main stage.

Integrated Gender Equality into its Advocacy and SDGs

Women Deliver decided to expand its scope beyond maternal and reproductive health into cross-cutting issues of gender equality. Simultaneously, it was hard at work integrating these issues into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Joined Clinton Global Initiative as an Advisor

Women Deliver came on as an official advisor to Clinton Global Initiative and played a key role in making the issue of adolescent reproductive health a core priority of CGI's work in 2015.

Built Girl Power in Play Campaign

This campaign, taking place on the backdrop of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, focused on the correlation of girls’ involvement in sport and their long-term health and leadership. 180 organizations signed the Call to Action for global leaders to get more girls in the game.

Named Best Youth Program Globally

Women Deliver was awarded, alongside three other organizations, the designation of “Best Youth Program” by Youth Lead Global.

Gate Crashed World Economic Forum

Women Deliver strategically leveraged the World Economic Forum to advocate directly to the world’s most influential leaders. In 2018, tides changed, as the organization was invited in and became part of the official health steward group.

Welcomed Young Leader Class of 2016

The Young Leaders Program grew in size and scope, with 200 advocates building their skills within SRHR, gender equality, and other areas of intersectionality.

Convened 4th Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

With a focus on making the newly-launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) matter most for girls and women, Women Deliver brought together 6,000 attendees – 97% of which said they would take action as a result of attending WD2016.

Launched the Deliver for Good Campaign

Co-created by a network of partner organizations united in a shared commitment for gender equality, this evidence-based campaign calls for better policies, programming, and financial investments in girls and women.

Increased Advisory Roles

Women Deliver began advising several multinational companies, including Johnson & Johnson, and helped countries shape their development and foreign policies through consultations.

Welcomed Young Leader Class of 2018

More staff and support allowed Women Deliver to bring on 300 advocates under the age of 30 – including adolescents for the very first time – with the desire to build skills, engage with decisionmakers, and create a gender-equal world.

Launched Humanitarian Advocacy Work

This workstream of Women Deliver’s advocacy focuses on elevating the voices of women in crisis settings, as well as guiding the humanitarian sector to deliver the strongest response for girls and women.

Convened 5th Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, Canada

The largest and most impactful conference to date, more than 8,000 people from 169 countries gathered under one roof (plus 200,000 via the global dialogue) to witness political commitments, unveil new research, challenge power dynamics, and share solutions.

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