The third week of September was a busy one for Women Deliver. The United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), amongst other events, filled the city with Heads of State and agents of change, providing ample opportunity to discuss maternal health, sexual and reproductive rights and gender equity. Here are a few of our highlights:
- The World Bank: “Realizing the Demographic Dividend - Challenges and Opportunities for Ministers of Finance and Development” panel focused on the policy actions necessary in family planning, health, education, gender equality, and labor market policies, if positive economic returns are to be secured. Women Deliver Founder and President, Jill Sheffield, who spoke at the event, reinforced this point by stating: "The fact is: that women drive economic development. They operate the majority of small businesses and farms in developing countries and their unpaid work equals roughly 1/3 of the GDP."
- Ministers of Health Forum: A Panel which featured Ministers of Health from Uganda, Côte d'Ivoire and Angola; Christy Turlington Burns, founder of the maternal and child health advocacy organization Every Mother Counts; and CEOs from leading organizations Save the Children, World Vision, Africare and PATH, identified programs and policies that will most effectively support the needs of disadvantaged women and girls in their countries. The event was hosted by the Princess of Africa Foundation, Women Deliver, Strategies for International Development, Vestergaard Frandsen, and was supported by Merck. “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do—it has far-reaching economic and social benefits as well,” said Jill. “When women do well, families flourish, communities thrive, and nations grow.”
- Clinton Global Initiative (CGI): Women Deliver Founder and President, Jill Sheffield, moderated the panel Reproducing Success: Game-changing Interventions in Women’s Health, which centered on the success stories of organizations and individuals that have improved the health and well-being of women. Panelists including Mark Feinberg, Vice President, Medical Affairs and Policy, Merck & Co., Inc.; Elizabeth Maguire, President and CEO, Ipas; and Milton Ochieng', Co-founder, Lwala Community Alliance, shared their personal experience in the women’s health space. Equally lively was the breakout session when attendees were posed the question: “What is one audacious idea on how to improve the lives of women and girls?”
- Integrating NCDs: Next Frontier in Women’s Health: Jill co-hosted an event and panel discussion along with the American Cancer Society, the GAVI Alliance, PATH, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Heart Federation. Joined by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, and a host of government, UN and civil society leaders, the event provided a platform by which to discuss the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on women’s healthcare in low and middle-income countries, and to announce a new task force recently assembled to meet those challenges; including a gender-based, lifecycle approach to NCD prevention and treatment. During the event, Jill shared the following thought: “The same inequities that have plagued some communities and caused unthinkable rates of pregnancy-related mortality are putting women at additional risk for non-communicable diseases.”
- Blogging For Good: Connecting Online Audiences to Offline Actions for Women: a panel discussion co-hosted by ONE, Vestergaard Frandsen, and Women Deliver, set out to prove that social media can be a powerful tool to educate, inform, inspire, and make real change on development issues. The evening started with an exclusive premier of mini-films from ONE and Vestergaard Frandsen and ended with a panel that included: Emily McKhann, co-founder of TheMotherhood.com and participant in the "It Only Takes ONE Mom" campaign to Kenya; Jennifer James, creator of the Mom Bloggers Club and participant in the "It Only Takes ONE Mom" campaign to Kenya; Rachel Cernansky, blogger for Treehugger.com and winner of Women Bloggers Deliver campaign to Kenya; Elisabeth Willhelm, New media Specialist at Vestergaard Frandsen and Women Deliver’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Janna Oberdorf. The moderator, Brian Reich, Senior Vice President and Global Editor for Edelman and author of Shift & Reset: Strategies for Addressing Serious Issues in a Connected Society, was a driving force in challenging our guests on best practices for social media in the not-for-profit and policy arenas.
- The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell: Women Deliver Founder and President, Jill Sheffield, joined President Kikwete of Tanzania, First Ladies and Health Ministers to announce their Global Health Commitments for Women's Health and Women's Cancer; promote the role of corporations and donor governments; and to ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell. Also announced, was a new publication featuring global health leaders and diplomats, that advocates for women's health. The night concluded with the distinguished guests joining donor government representatives and global health leaders, including Jill, for a panel discussion on Public Private Partnerships for Women’s Health.
- Women: Inspiration & Enterprise (WIE) Symposium: Women Deliver’s Communications Director, Janna Oberdorf, and Communications Associate, Lindsey Taylor Wood, attended the event as two of the White Ribbon Alliance’s 20 Young Champions for Women -- ‘Generation: Inspiration’. The symposium, which brought together a variety of luminaries in the political, philanthropic, media, fashion and art centric fields challenged participants to discuss "What it means to be a woman now".