By Rahim Kanani (Originally posted on The Huffington Post)
French poet Victor Hugo once remarked that "there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Today, that idea is unmistakable: addressing the political, economic, social, and cultural challenges facing women and girls worldwide. It's no coincidence then that in less than two weeks -- strategically ahead of the G8 Summit to be held in Canada -- the world's leading voices on advancing the lives and livelihoods of women and girls around the world will come together in Washington, D.C., for the 2010 Women Deliver Summit. And if the list of featured speakers, plenary sessions, and concurrent discussions are any indication, this convening promises to be a fire-starter of global action as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.
In addressing the most urgent inequalities and challenges facing women and girls, the two main points of Women Deliver are simple: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without investing in women, and if we act now, we can still achieve MDG-5: reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters and providing universal access to reproductive health by 2015. The convening, however, is one of many moving parts working together to orchestrate a massive global movement to equalize opportunity and access for women and girls internationally.