By Glory Iribagiza | The New Times | 1 December 2022
As Rwanda gets ready to host the Women Deliver 2023 conference, organisers and partners had a breakfast meeting on November 30 in Kigali to discuss preparedness and how to eliminate possible barriers for the gathering.
Women Deliver 2023, which is slated for Mid-July next year, is one of the world's largest conferences on gender equality, health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
Maliha Khan, Women Deliver’s President and CEO, has on several occasions said that Rwanda won the bid to hold the conference because of efforts in governance to achieve equal rights for both men and women.
Indeed, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index ranks Rwanda the most gender equal country in Africa and sixth in the world.
Mireille Batamuriza, the Permanent Secretary at the Gender Ministry, said that hospitality companies which will host the guests are already aware, and one of the remaining things is making sure that Rwandans too participate.
“We have a platform where we meet with the civil society in order to mobilise people to attend the conference. For purposes of registration, it is on Women Deliver’s website. We believe Rwandans have learnt of that,” Batamuriza added.
Among the issues raised at the meeting is the registration fee, which starts from USD $ 500 for in-person participants and USD $100 for online participants.
Participation fee was pointed out as a possible barrier much as scholarships are provided for people who can’t afford it.
“We are completely acknowledging that the registration fees are a big barrier to participation. We were speaking with several agencies and others about how we can make sure that we are collectively trying to support women organisations and grassroot organisations to participate,” Khan noted.
The conference, which is expected to attract more than 6,000 people in person and more than 200,000 others online, was last held in Vancouver in 2019 where 8,000 people attended and 200,000 others online.
Also present at the breakfast was UN Women Representative in Rwanda, Jennet Kem, who told The New Times that the entity has been a major partner of the Women Deliver conferences, including the upcoming one.
“UN Women has been mobilising decision makers. Most often we partner in convening the ministerial meeting. We interact with the government, with the intergovernmental bodies, and with the women, right down to the grassroots,” Kem noted.