News and Updates
December 6, 2017

Women Deliver 2019 Pre-Conference Event

Celebrating and preparing for the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver

In November, DASH attended an event to celebrate and prepare for the upcoming Women Deliver 2019 Conference which will take place in Vancouver from June 3rd to June 6th, 2019. A number of individuals spoke at the pre-conference event, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. They called upon people from all sectors, especially the younger generation, to take action, to shine a light on gender equality and to unite on behalf of girls and women.

The Women Deliver Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality, began in 2007 and has been hosted in England, the United States, Malaysia, and Denmark, with Canada soon to share that honour. This global conference focuses on the health, rights and well-being of girls and women around the world. When Vancouver serves as the host city for the Women Deliver 2019 conference, over 6000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists and journalists from more than 160 countries around the world will congregate in the city to generate action and create solutions for lasting change.

Throughout the pre-conference event, the many diverse speakers repeatedly brought up the importance and impact of the younger generation. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau noted that change happens because people get engaged in the process. She advocated for everyone to get involved, with a particular focus on the younger generation, because there is such a vital need to listen to, turn to and call upon the voices, wisdom and insights of children and youth.

Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau then introduced Adina Williams, a young woman from the Squamish Nation, who reaffirmed the importance of the younger generation getting involved in the conversation, reminding us of the value of the thoughts and ideas of children and youth. She also brought up the need to listen to the usually silenced voices of Aboriginal peoples, particularly Aboriginal children and youth, as incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing into our everyday lives is important in the creation of lasting change.

After this, Prime Minister Trudeau took to the stage. He remarked that gender equality is everyone’s business, mentioning that he and his wife were not only raising their daughter to be a feminist, but were also raising their sons to be feminists as well. He stated that children and youth have the unique ability to shape the future for the better and that we should be including them in the conversation. He also urged educators to teach students about the girls and women throughout history who were left out of the textbooks and to promote gender equality in the classroom, as he believes in girls and women as agents of change.

Next, Katja Iversen, the president and CEO of Women Deliver, reminded attendees of the importance of changing the narrative of girls and women from girls and women being seen as inferior to boys and men to girls and women being seen as equal to boys and men. She emphasized that, even today, girls and women are often still denied access to the same opportunities in society as boys and men. She then asked attendees to consider what each of them could do personally to encourage the integration of girls and women into the discussions that can help to shape their lives and livelihoods. BC Premier John Horgan also added that real, lasting change starts at the local level, in our homes, in our schools and in our communities. Finally, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau noted that it doesn’t matter if you are taking giant steps or baby steps, because even a small change can make a big difference.

In the words of Prime Minister Trudeau, “Women Deliver is a chance for all of us to come together, step up and do our part to make gender equality a reality.” DASH supports all efforts by teachers, educators and school staff to create an awareness of gender equality within the school environment, and encourages communicating the messages and opportunities connected to the Women Deliver 2019 Conference.

For ideas on how to teach gender equality in your classroom, check out a gender equality lesson planning guide hereteaching strategies to address gender equality hereand lesson plans and tool kits to promote gender equality here.

You can find out more about Women Deliver and the upcoming Women Deliver 2019 Conference here.