By: Jill Sheffield and Katja Iversen
It has already been one year since the extraordinary 2013 Women Deliver global conference took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The three day event brought together 4,500 key stakeholders from approximately 150 countries to focus on the most pressing issues affecting girls’ and women’s health and rights. During this one year anniversary, we want you to share with us: what is the one thing you have done - or done differently - to advance the health and rights of girls and women in your country over the last year?
The 2013 conference provided a global platform for civil society, advocates, policymakers, private sector, government representatives, media, and young people to meet and share the progress made so far for girls and women around the world. While we have made significant process on some issues over the past decades, including a significant decline in maternal deaths, our job is far from over to achieve an equitable world.
The conference also offered an opportunity for new partnerships, stronger networks, and strengthened coalitions across all sectors. Thanks to the thoughtful contributions of all participants–the conference was truly transformative.
Some of the highlights from the conference include:
- The Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak said that we must invest in girls’ and women’s reproductive health because it is a human right. His speech was a global call for action to address the health, education, and safety of girls and women to allow them to reach their full potential.
- The role of youth in the development agenda was upheld during the 2013 Women Deliver Conference. Youth organizations were also identified as strong partners and not just beneficiaries in implementing projects that address girls’ and women’s reproductive health and rights. To support this,The Lancet and DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) in partnership with Women Deliver compiled young people’s hopes for the future in the publication We Have a Dream.
- Many challenges and stories of progress were shared by Ministers of Health, Finance, Women’s Affairs and Development Cooperation, and an inspiring Call to Action was released.The conference background paper, authored by the World Bank, made the case that investing in girls and women is a prerequisite for achieving gender equality.
Sharing your progress will give Women Deliver an opportunity to assess the level of action taken by participants, to share it across all stakeholder platforms. We want to share the creative ways that participants have acted on their promises since, and also reignite commitments, to continue to improve maternal and reproductive health, and rights of girls and women.