In addition to asking about the general state of the world for girls and women, we also specifically solicited suggestions for the Women Deliver 2019 Conference. This will be the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, and respondents took the opportunity to share what they wanted highlighted on this global platform.


Listening Tour respondents rallied around several themes and frames for WD2019.

  • Power—in various forms—and how it needs to change.
  • Equity and justice—what do these ideas look like in practice?
  • Agency, investment, and changing gender norms—including working with unusual decision makers and opinion leaders at the grassroots level.
  • Movement building, organizing, and individual action—how to link the global to the local and vice versa.
  • Gender equality through different lenses—how issues such as peace and security, climate change, and immigration impact girls and women; and conversely how these issues can be impacted by greater gender equality.
  • Best practices, learning, and collaboration.
  • Advancing from women’s empowerment to achieving gender equality.
  • Backlash: The unintended consequences facing women’s movements around the world.


Participants also expressed their hopes around what tone the conference will set.

  • Hopeful
  • Strong sense of urgency
  • Solutions oriented
  • Political
  • Thoughtful
  • Honest
  • Inclusive and intersectional
  • Loud and proud
  • Bold – challenge various forms of patriarchy and privilege


During the Listening Tour, we heard more than 1,000 specific suggestions for topics ranging from high-level global policy topics to issues impacting the lived experiences of girls and women around the world. Suggested topics fell mostly into the following categories:

  • Power and Empowerment in various forms: e.g. promoting the agency of girls and women; challenging patriarchy and privilege; women’s economic/financial power or lack thereof; changing power structures; the role of boys and men in the pursuit of gender equality.
  • Reproductive health: e.g. improving access to modern contraception and emergency contraception products, services, and information; access to safe abortion and quality post-abortion care; changing cultural norms around reproductive and sexual health and rights; male involvement in helping girls and women realize their sexual and reproductive rights; adolescent health; legal reform; improving menstrual health and hygiene in schools and communities; the provision of all of the aforementioned reproductive health services and information everywhere—especially in humanitarian and protracted crises.
  • Violence: e.g. preventing gender-based violence in all its forms; ensuring laws and legal mechanisms are in place to seek justice and redressal; changing traditional/gender/social norms and practices that infringe on the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women—especially in humanitarian and protracted crises.
  • Leadership: e.g. increasing women’s roles as decision makers in all levels of society; increasing political involvement as members of the electorate and as elected officials; achieving gender parity in the workplace (both in the number and quality of positions afforded to women, but also equal pay for equal work); increasing women’s leadership in all sectors.
  • Equality: e.g. reducing cultural and gender norms as barriers to equality; changing laws to improve equality; filling gaps in the collection of sex- and age-disaggregated data to reveal inequalities and improve accountability; creating and access to an enabling environment for women’s economic and financial progress.
  • Education: e.g. safety of girls to attend school; education in conflict settings; investing in professional training; improving the number of girls and women in STEM; and workplace readiness for girls and women.
  • Technology: e.g. as a tool to prevent gender-based violence and efforts to mitigate violence perpetuated against girls and women as a result of technology; as a tool in social movements; as a way to give voice to girls and women in closed societies; utilizing big data; efforts to address online harassment; addressing the digital divide; improving digital financial
    services/innovations to reach remote/excluded populations.


We heard more than 1,000 suggestions for speakers who would inspire concrete action for girls and women. These included, but were by no way limited to:

  • Political Leaders (e.g. Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Leonardo Garnier)
  • Leaders from the private sector (e.g. Chip Bergh, Heli Kurjanen)
  • Advocates from a variety of sectors (e.g. Malala Yousafzai, Gloria Steinem, Bana Al-abed,Masih Alinejad)
  • Global health champions (e.g. Sabrina Rubli, Melinda Gates, Paul Farmer)
  • Leaders from academia (e.g. Marni Sommer, Judith Butler, Chris Bobel, Deborah Diniz, Peter Piot)
  • Celebrities and writers from around the world (e.g. Oprah Winfrey, Farhan Akhtar, Meghan Markle, Youssou N’Dour, Emma Watson)
  • Cultural and religious leaders (e.g. female and male Imams, progressive male clergy)
  • Young Leaders (e.g. Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, young entrepreneurs)
  • People driving change at the community level
  • Male feminists (e.g. HeforShe representatives, men behind the menstrual equity movement)
  • Voices from too-often marginalized groups
  • Voices speaking truth to power (e.g. grassroots activists, youth activists)
  • Diverse, empowering, and inspiring voices


Women Deliver is grateful to all who shared their views. We will be using the analysis of the findings and the rich suggestions and ideas to inform and assist in the program development for WD2019, as well as our general portfolio of work.

We will continue to work with experts across the globe to develop the program and identify speakers, creating a robust and dynamic conference.

Full Report