Closing plenary of Women Deliver 2019

Delivery in Progress: Gender Equality

VANCOUVER—Crowds sometimes thin by a conference’s closing plenary. Not so with Women Deliver 2019.

The world’s biggest conference on gender equality closed with a bang yesterday, amid jubilant cheers, rousing performances, and ambitious pledges.

The mood was celebratory, and delegates packing the plenary hall were treated to British television presenter and journalist Femi Oko’s energetic turn as emcee, rousing performances by Angelique Kidjo and Girl Be Heard, and spirited closing remarks for the 4-day conference built around the theme of “Power, Progress, and Change.”

In parting remarks to the delegates, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, told the room that time is up on being a spectator; it’s time for everyone to get involved. “When we are talking about gender equality, we are not talking about a fight between the genders. We are talking about a quest for more unity and harmony between human beings on planet earth,” she said.

Jam-packed with side events, sessions, power talks, exhibits, Women Deliver aims to serve as a catalyst for greater gender equality. The 4-day conference drew more than 8,000 delegates from 165 countries, focused on the connections between gender equality and health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, economic and political empowerment to human rights and many other issues.

“In a gender equal world, everybody wins,” said Katja Iversen, president/CEO of Women Deliver. “A gender equal world is moral, it’s productive, it’s healthier, it’s wealthier, and it’s more peaceful. And it’s within reach.”

Iversen also collected homework she gave delegates at the outset of the conference—to think about how they will use their power, with instructions to be ambitious. Some notable results:

  • Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands: “I am going to use my power so that by 2022 in the 13 worst-hit countries in Africa, #HIV infections rates among adolescent girls and young women will be more than halved.”
  • Union for International Cancer Control President Dina Mired: “I will use my power to fight cancer. I urge you all to rally behind @DrTedros’s call for the elimination of #CervicalCancer, a disease that affects disproportionately women in developing world.”
  • Executive Director Helga Fogstad, executive director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health pledged to use the power of partnership to realize a vision of a world where women’s rights and equality will shape the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents and transform our societies.


If you missed #WD2019, you can catch the highlight video here.


And, check out GHN’s #WD2019 blog for more news—and check back next week for a series of Q&As from the sidelines on leadership and gender equality.


Image at top

Thousands still packed the hall for the #WD2019 closing plenary. Image by Dayna Kerecman Myers