Our History – Women Deliver

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Our History

For almost 20 years, Women Deliver has championed positive change for gender equality on a global scale. We are experts in global spaces — conferences, forums, and meetings — where advocates, decision-makers, technical experts, and other actors come together to discuss critical global issues and set norms and standards. We have a deep understanding of these spaces — we know how to navigate their complex systems, we have access to them, and we aim to challenge and ultimately change whose voices are heard within them. In particular, we draw on our years of expertise in meaningfully engaging young people and supporting collective action to advance the health and rights of girls and women at the global level.

Throughout our history, Women Deliver has strived to advance gender equality worldwide by advocating for the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of girls and women. We are best known for our convening power — particularly Women Deliver Conferences, which began in 2007 when nearly 2,000 people from 115 countries declared that the deaths of over 500,000 women each year during pregnancy and childbirth would no longer be tolerated. The first Women Deliver Conference, held in London to mark the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, revitalized the case for investing in maternal and newborn health and intensified efforts to get maternal health on the global development agenda.

Our convening power has continued to grow since this first Conference in London, expanding to:

  • Over 3,000 in 2010 (Washington, DC)
  • 4,500 attendees in 2013 (Kuala Lumpur)
  • 6,000 attendees in 2016 (Copenhagen)
  • 8,000 onsite and 200,000 online and at satellite events in 2019 (Vancouver)
  • More than 6,000 onsite and 10,000 online in 2023 (Kigali)

Since our founding, we have broadened and deepened our expertise in global advocacy for gender equality, focusing on:

  • Navigating and utilizing global spaces
  • Resourcing young people working for change
  • Supporting and strengthening coalitions and collective movements
  • Harnessing our brand influence to create change

We are committed to confronting the harmful aspects of our past and changing our practices. We pledge to shape a future where our actions not only reflect the feminist and anti-racist values to which we aspire, but also actively dismantle systems that oppress girls and women. We aim to carry forward the positive aspects of our history and work, building on our successes made possible through the commitment and expertise of our partners working alongside us.

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