Our History – Women Deliver

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Our History

For almost 20 years, Women Deliver has worked to advance positive change for gender equality at the global level. We are experts in global spaces — conferences, forums, and meetings where advocates, decision-makers, technical experts, and other actors can come together to discuss international 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 at 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 aimed 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 put the world on notice that the deaths of more than 500,000 women each year in 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, brought new ammunition to the case for investing in maternal and newborn health. It intensified efforts to get maternal health on the global development agenda.

Our convening power has continued to grow since this first Conference in London, continually expanding to over 3,000 in 2010 (Washington, DC); 4,500 in 2013 (Kuala Lumpur); 6,000 in 2016 (Copenhagen); 8,000 onsite (Vancouver) and 200,000 online and at satellite events in 2019; and more than 6,000 onsite (Kigali) and 10,000 online in 2023

Since our founding, we have broadened and deepened our expertise in global advocacy for gender equality, specifically around navigating and utilizing global spaces; resourcing young people working for change; supporting and strengthening coalitions and collective movements; and harnessing brand influence to create change. Our expansive and lasting convening power is ultimately created by the combination of: 

  • Our deep expertise in global spaces
  • Our longstanding partnership with variety of stakeholders, particularly youth advocates
  • Our extensive work in collective action
  • Our powerful reputation and brand influence

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

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