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World’s largest conference on gender equality kicks off

By Hope Mafaranga

Added 4th June 2019 11:24 AM

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said his country has strongly mobilised community to advance the conversation on gender equality.

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The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said his country has strongly mobilised community to advance the conversation on gender equality.

(From left) Women Deliver President, the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, the Women deliver young leader Natasha Chibesa Wang and the Canadian minister of international development and minister for women gender equality Maryam Monsef speaking to the press during the opening of the Women Deliver 2019 Conference at Vancouver Conference Center in Canada in Monday. Photo by Hope Mafaranga

The Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, kicked off today (Monday) with a call to redefine power at every level.

Over  8,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics and  activists and  1,400 youth delegates  from 165 countries are  gathered in Vancouver Conference center in Canada to discuss on how to improve gender equality in the world under theme “ Power, Progress, Change” .

The Women Deliver President Katja Iversen said the conference will focus on power, and how it can drive  or hinder – progress and change; and how societies must redefine the concept of ‘power’ and use it as a force for good.

Explaining the theme Iversen said, they going to examine power operating at three levels which  Individual  power,  girls’ and women power and  how to strengthen that power  and challenge systems, barriers, and opportunities for progress in power relations, including political, economic, and social structures.

“The conference will dive into the power of movements, and how we can shape critical consciousness and marshal collective action for change,” she said.

She said the special  emphasis  on power is to offer solutions to fill the gap on a vast array of issues crucial to gender equality,  economic empowerment, women and the environment, nutrition, education, political participation, preventing gender-based violence, health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and  human rights.

“We all have power to contribute to a more gender equal world. If we use our individual and collective power – boldly, smartly and collaboratively -- progress will follow,” she said.

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said his country has strongly mobilised community to advance the conversation on gender equality.

 “We are investing  politically and financially in the lives of girls and women and unite diverse voices to spark commitment to gender equality. We know many grassroots leaders and advocates have dedicated their lives to defending and advancing women’s rights and cannot take our foot off the pedal, not even for a moment Canada’s leadership on gender equality is not going anywhere, and that we are not just speaking up, but stepping up too,” Trudeau said.

The UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka  said  there need to mobilise against those who reinforce patriarchal power structures, reject multilateralism and push-back against gender equality and women’s empowerment.

 Natasha Chibesa Wang Mwansa, Women Deliver Young Leader  said  young people have the power  to help bring visibility to youth-led advocacy and solutions for gender equality from around the world.

“As an 18-year old Zambian I represent not only the future but the present of youth leadership. Young people are uniquely positioned to disrupt power dynamics, make progress on deeply entrenched issues, and bring change for girls and women worldwide,” she said.

Maryam Monsef, the Canadian Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality  said they are looking forward to continue working with governments, businesses, charitable organisations, civil society to leave a legacy that will empower women, strengthen families and communities, and create lasting change that benefits everyone.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA, Uhuru Kenyatta the Kenyan President, Angélique Kidjo, Grammy Award winning singer and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark other women advocates are attending the conference. 

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