President Paul Kagame on Monday July 17, 2023 officially opened the Women Deliver 2023 global conference. In its sixth edition, the gathering is described as “the world’s largest conference on gender equality and girls’ health, rights, and well-being.”
Women Deliver will focus on matters such as “policy changes and investments, for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women and achieving a more equal world.”
Opening the gathering at Kigali 10,000 capacity indoor arena, the Rwandan President said that in recent decades, there have been meaningful results in closing the gap between women and men in terms of opportunity and achievement.
“Still, across the globe, women remain vulnerable to various forms of injustice and are often employed in the informal sector. Much more remains to be done to tackle gender biases, which are still embedded in the social, economic and political sectors,” Kagame said.
“We must challenge ourselves to do things in a different way with a sense of urgency. Commitments which are not followed by actions, cannot fulfil our promise to build a more just equitable and prosperous future for the generations that follow us.” Kagame said.
Kagame also called on policy-makers to do much more to tackle a biased attitude about gender which is deeply embedded in their political, social and economic systems.
As he addressed the crowd on Monday, Kagame talked about how Rwanda, his country, has created and established an environment for women.
“In Rwanda, we have created an enabling environment for women to be equally represented in leadership positions, including in politics and at all levels.” The Rwandan President explained.
“Our priorities are to advance gender equality across all sectors, especially digital and financial inclusion, and challenge traditional gender norms. Rwanda mainstreams the annual gender budget statement.”Kagame sdded.
Hungarian President Katalin Novák attending the conference along other heads of state said women in professional spaces are often forced to make difficult choices, citing an instance — between work and family — due to a lack of opportunity in the economic space.
Novák who is the first female Hungarian president commended the gains made in the struggle for global gender parity but added that “there is still much work to be done”.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Chair of the Women Deliver program expressed gratitude to President Kagame and Rwanda for their hospitality and the opportunity of hosting the conference.
Phumzile said that this is the first time the conference meets after the devastating pandemic.
“I want us to recognize that we are meeting at a crossroads; we are facing climate change and wars. Tomorrow has to be better than yesterday.” She said,
Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director said that she was honored to work with all you in advancing towards progress.
“When I look out at this conference, I see women’s power. This is your future and you have the opportunity to shape it.” She noted.
We are here because we are committed to ensure that the women’s movement rises from strength to strength, in solidarity. Women Deliver is the largest community of feminists, of the women’s movement and its allies. It is, indeed, an unstoppable force, Bahous said.
Over 6,000 delegates from different countries are expected to turn up for the conference which is being held in Africa for the first time.