Women Deliver Conference
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver. This event takes place every three years and attracted around 8000 passionate attendees. It aims to bring together the organisations and people working for gender equality and share progress and discuss stubborn challenges.
The first day was a Youth event with 1400 young people from around the world. Two from NZ were in attendance and there was a strong focus through-out the five days on the power of youth – generation equality – and what they are doing. In one session there were four country presidents on stage and they were all up-staged by a wonderful passionate 18 year old from Ghana.  This event really reinforced that youth is where it is at – watch out!
A number of major reports were released during the event.  Equal Measures 2030 measured where countries are at in regard to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Gender equality is implicated in all the goals and this report has created a baseline for future measurement. You can see the full report here
No country currently achieves an excellent overall score and none are on track to get to gender equality by 2030, event New Zealand which sits in the top 20. Still lots to do!
The second report that was very relevant for us was the State of the World’s fathers which looked at the potential for gender equality when more fathers take parental leave and caring roles. It found the major barriers were:
  • The lack of adequate, paid paternity leave, and low take-up of leave when it is available
  • Restrictive gender norms that position care as women’s responsibility, alongside the perception of women as more competent caregivers than men
  • A lack of economic security and government support for all parents and caregivers.

It also showed a positive correlation between men taking up caring roles and a decrease in domestic violence. We’ll be looking into how the Y can bring this work to life in New Zealand.  The full report is here 

An added bonus was meeting up with and sharing dinner with twelve YWCA women from different countries. Our passions and challenges were very similar!

Power was the theme of the conference, with constant reminders that we all have power and can use it to make change happen. For me, I’m thinking about we can use our position and reach at Auckland’s YWCA to call forth power in others.