'We are not alone in this': Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in Vancouver preparing for global women's conference – Women Deliver

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‘We are not alone in this’: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in Vancouver preparing for global women’s conference

By Clare Hennig | CBC News | 15 November 2017

More than 6,000 expected to attend Women Deliver conference in 2019

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a long-term advocate for women's issues, is in Vancouver this week talking about one of the world's largest women-focused conferences in the world coming in 2019.

Thousands of leaders and advocates from more than 160 different countries will gather in Vancouver that summer for the Women Deliver global conference.

"We want to talk about ... the subtle, or the very in-your-face, violence that women are facing in their daily lives here in the country and across the world," Grégoire Trudeau said.

Preparations for the conference, held every three years in different cities around the globe, are underway as conversations about harassment and sexual assault have come to the forefront in recent weeks.

The flood of stories from women that emerged following allegations of assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo social media movement caught many people off guard.

But Grégoire Trudeau told CBC's Gloria Macarenko there is a strength in sharing stories and personal experiences that can help ignite change.

"We are sitting at the tipping point on so many levels, here in Canada but across the world as well," she said.

"We realize that by sharing our path of suffering, by sharing our stories and what has happened to us, we are realizing that we are not alone in this."

Change, not blame

Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver, said the #MeToo movement highlights the necessity of having these conversations.

"I don't think I know any women who couldn't write 'Me Too' because that has just been what was almost accepted or taken for as 'This is what a woman's life is,'" Iversen said.

"But, one, it shouldn't be and, two, it's changing."

The conference, Iversen said, is about change rather than blame.

"This is about the solutions, this is a positive movement," she said. "It is not pointing fingers or blame-and-shame."

Grégoire Trudeau said it will be a women-focused conference but men must be a key part of the conversation too.

"Young boys can become wise, grounded, open-minded and open-hearted individuals that can contribute immensely to equality in society," she said.

"They also deserve to have that kind of future."

The Women Deliver conference will be held June 3 - 6, 2019 in Vancouver.

With files from Gloria Macarenko.