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Empowering Women: Reflecting on the 2023 Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda

Empowering Women: Reflecting on the 2023 Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda | 28 Jul 2023

By Evelyne Wangui, Communications Associate, SEMA

In the heart of Africa, on the land of a thousand hills, Kigali, Rwanda, history was made as the Women Deliver conference convened on the African continent for the first time since its inception in 2007. The 2023 event brought together a diverse group of people who champion women's rights, gender equality and work to address the challenges faced by women globally. Under the theme of "Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions," the conference aimed to foster inclusive spaces that encourage solidarity, leading to sustainable solutions for gender equality.

As an attendee, I was inspired by the in-depth discussions, passionate activism, and calls for meaningful action. The Women Deliver conference provided a vibrant platform for dialogue and discussions on various challenges women encounter globally, including sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and low representation in political and corporate leadership positions.

Empowering women economically was emphasized as an essential element of improving their sexual and reproductive health. Participants urged stakeholders to integrate economic empowerment in dealing with reproductive health issues. They further stressed the need to move beyond tokenism and empower women with not only positions but also resources.

While governments play a critical role in promoting women-friendly policies, collaboration with NGOs on various issues has often been challenging. The conference called for multi-sectoral stakeholders aligning with government priorities to gain their support in implementing programs and initiatives. 

The minority’s voice came through clearly as the group highlighted the deficiencies in the current research methodologies, which frequently overlook the specific requirement of the group. They stressed the importance of inclusivity and diversity in research to guarantee comprehensive and effective solutions that address the needs of all. 

On issues affecting the youth, the conference placed a strong emphasis on empowering the continent’s young people with knowledge, confidence, and resources to pave their way to success. 

 The Women Deliver conference is a powerful platform for insightful discussions, fostering solidarity, and driving the call for actionable change. By empowering women, working together with governments, embracing inclusivity, and learning from our past, we can create a world where women thrive, and gender equality prevails. The journey continues, and we must remain steadfast in pursuing a better, fairer world for all.

Graca Machel at Women Deliver