Thousands of influencers, leaders and advocates are preparing to come to Vancouver for the Women Deliver Conference in 2019.
The conference is the largest gathering on the health, rights and well-being of women and girls.
“The Women Deliver Conference is yes, the largest in the world,” said Katja Iversen, a board member for the conference.
“We have it every three years. The goal is to really show ‘what [are] the solutions’? The conference will showcase what can we do to improve women’s status in society, improve health, improve wellbeing, diminish violence. So really, how can it be improved and how can we take action?'”
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who is involved in the conference, says this is happening at a crucial time in women’s rights around the world.
“I’ve seen such a shift,” she said. “We are talking more and more about our true concerns and we are also calling out the problems. We see that there is subtle violence, or very evident and in-your-face violence, in so many areas of our lives — from social media, to the TV shows that we watch, to the language that is used to describe women in schoolyards, at the kitchen table — it starts within our own family.”
“With Women Deliver, we want to ignite and Vancouver’s going to be centre stage in June 2019, for this,” added Trudeau. “We want Vancouverites and we want people everywhere in their work, at their job, at school, in their houses to have true conversations [about] the barriers that girls are facing today.”
She added one of the goals is to not be scared to have real conversations about what women are going through around the world and how women can empower each other.
“We want to include men and boys in this conversation because it is to their detriment to be stuck in a culture that teaches them that we should treat girls and women with inequality or injustice. And I don’t think that’s equal to their true potential.”
The Women Deliver Conference began in 2007 and has been held in London, Washington D.C., Kuala Lumpur and Copenhagen, making this the first time it will be held in Canada.
“As we say, women deliver, and so much more than babies,” said Iversen. “All evidence shows that when you invest in girls and women, in their health, in their rights, in their equality, not only is it the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do from an economic point.”
While Canada is a world leader when it comes to women’s rights, Trudeau says there is still more work to be done.
“There’s so much work still to be done in Canada,” she said. “Equal pay, equal work, violence against women, access to childcare. The work is not done but we are creating precedence here and new benchmarks for respecting girl’s and women’s rights in our own country so that we send a clear message to the world that this is the new stepping stone. This is where we’re going to start from and redefine normal.
“We’re going to redefine what is considered ‘normal’ in a society, which is the hardest thing to change. We need to redefine that.”
The Women Deliver Conference will take place in Vancouver from June 3-6, 2019.
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