Conference calls for females to be put at forefront of development

Updated: 2016-05-17 17:45

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Conference calls for females to be put at forefront of development

By Yang Wanli

Heads of state and global leaders joined more than 5,000 advocates, experts and young people from 168 countries for the opening of Women Deliver Conference 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark on Monday.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the country’s Crown Princess Mary urged action at the opening ceremony of the conference — the largest gathering on the health, rights and well-being of girls and women in over a decade.

“We all share a common conviction — that girls and women are the key to building healthy, prosperous and sustainable societies and communities,” said Crown Princess Mary. “And the evidence is sound — when we invest in girls and women, society as a whole benefits.”

The Women Deliver 2016 Conference is the first major gathering of girls’ and women’s health and rights advocates since the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals last year.

It is being organized by global advocacy group Women Deliver and brings together leaders from UN agencies, civil society, academia and the private sector.

“The fight for equal gender opportunities is not just a women’s fight or a fight for women. It is a fight for all of us — women and men. It is a fight for a better and more prosperous world,” said Rasmussen.

To accelerate progress for girls and women, Women Deliver launched a new advocacy platform called Deliver for Good at the event. It aims to show how a focus on investments in girls and women can be transformative for global development.

“It will drive action toward what we know is true: investing in girls and women unlocks untapped potential, and creates a ripple effect that benefits families, communities and entire nations,” said Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver. “Now is the time to turn the conversation from ‘if and why’ to ‘how and now.’”

During the ongoing conference, which concludes on Thursday, attendees will discuss the latest trends, innovations and research to drive solutions for girls and women around the world. Each day of the conference will focus on ways to accelerate progress.

“Girls and women have less access to resources and opportunities and are subjected to exploitation, violence and abuse. And because these global challenges are complex, demanding and interwoven — the solutions have to be connected as well,” said Manisha Bharti, chief strategy officer of nonprofit human development organization FHI 360.

“It’s time we meaningfully engage girls and women as equal partners at all levels and stages of development to help ensure they have the decision-making power necessary to shape their societies and their own lives,” she added.