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 700 youth advocates under the age of 30 to date, representing more than 120 countries, supplementing and strengthening their work through online learning communities, high-level networking, speaking opportunities, and seed grants.
In 2014, the organization began a transition of leadership and brought on CEO Katja Iversen, and experienced substantial growth in staff and scope. Today, Women Deliver is recognized as a key player and advocate for gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.