What is a woman’s journey to power?

What does she need to do — or change — to arrive at a place of equality of opportunity, where she is able to realize her full potential in the world?

That’s what my United Nations Foundation colleagues and I will be examining during a wide range of activities and events that we’re hosting as part of Women Deliver 2019.

More than 8,000 participants — from government leaders and researchers to grassroots advocates and private-sector partners — will gather for the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. Taking place this year in Vancouver, Canada, the focus is power — individual power, structural power, and the power of movements — and how it can drive or undermine gender equality.

Since our founding more than 20 years ago, the UN Foundation has championed the rights of girls and women, and helped promote the work of the UN to uphold and extend those rights. We do this because it’s the right thing to do. Equality for girls and women is enshrined in the UN Charter, and necessary for achieving equal justice, dignity, opportunity, and more peaceful and prosperous societies.

Further, we understand that when girls and women thrive, so do their families and communities; and that women play a critical role in solving some of the world’s thorniest problems. (Check out our (S)Heroes of the UN series and our President and CEO Kathy Calvin’s insights about how climate change is a feminist issue, for starters!)

Our work helps trace what we call a woman’s journey to power — from ensuring that girls are counted in birth registration data, to helping them become leaders in their communities, to advocating for access to family planning, to empowering women in the workplace, and beyond.

At Women Deliver, we invite everyone to be part of the journey. Along the way, the UN Foundation will promote the important findings of The Lancet’s new “Series on Gender Equality, Norms, and Health;” champion the voices of adolescent girls; spotlight the role that women play in eliminating polio; advocate for better gender data; amplify the benefits of investing in workplace women’s health and empowerment; examine how climate change will disproportionately affect women; and explore the Future of Women at Work with the McKinsey Global Institute.

Below are some of the events we are involved in. If you’re attending, they are open to all delegates:


Sunday, June 2


Gender Equality and Empowerment Benchmark (GEEB) Roundtable
Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, 3 to 8:30 p.m. PDT

Hosted by the World Benchmarking Alliance, this hands-on working session invites participants to take an active role in evolving the Gender Equality and Empowerment Benchmark, including its overall structure and key pillars.


Monday, June 3


What If Women Drove the Product Journey for Essential Health Supplies?
Vancouver Convention Center, Room 116-117, 9 to 11 a.m. PDT

This session will explore the imperative to put women at the center of the delivery and design of essential health supplies. Join us for breakfast and a discussion about how client-driven approaches are disrupting the status quo for equitable and sustainable change and how to overcome the constraints related to local markets, social norms, policies, and supply chains. Presented by John Snow International in partnership with the White Ribbon Alliance, Kasha, the UN Foundation and Government of Ethiopia.


Tuesday, June 4


From Cradle to Grave: How Civil Registration and Gender Data Impact the Rights of Women and Girls
Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, 7 to 8:30 a.m. PDT

Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems are critical for protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls; for facilitating access to health, education, credit and loans; and for understanding and preventing child marriage. Yet despite the importance of CRVS systems for women and children, many countries lack capacity to record vital events, and gendered barriers and inequalities in CRVS systems persist and are often overlooked. Join us for breakfast and a thought-provoking conversation with gender equality, gender data, and CRVS experts on why efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights must include CRVS systems.


Smart Investment: Using Data to Make the Case and Track Commitments
Vancouver Convention Center, Room 217-219, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PDT

Data and evidence have the power to highlight needed investments, set priorities for limited resources, and hold decision-makers accountable on commitments. This rapid-fire session will present examples of how data are used to build a case for investment, to prioritize scarce resources, and to monitor investments. Participants will learn how data was used to make a cost-savings case for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and to track family planning investments and impact. Organized by Data2X, Groots, and Guttmacher Institute.


Change Begins at Home: Decent Work for Domestic Workers
Vancouver Convention Center, Room 208-209, 3 to 4 p.m. PDT

Globally, 70 million domestic workers, mostly women, are busy at work inside the household, powering our homes and economies. They are also among those most vulnerable to the risk of informal employment, violence, and harassment. This session showcases “bright spot” initiatives – such as the International Domestic Workers’ Federation – that build domestic workers’ individual, structural, and movement power toward a new paradigm. Organized by Data 2x, International Labour Organization, Oxfam Canada, and International Development Research Centre.

Launch of the Lancet Special Series on Gender Equality, Norms and Health

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 213, 5 to 7 p.m. PDT

The newly launched Lancet Series explores how restrictive gender norms affect every aspect of peoples’ well-being. The Series offers new theoretical perspectives and evidence on what causes gender inequality and what works to address it, culminating in a call to action. Hear key authors present their findings and reactions from experts. Join us for a disruptive session and help us create a movement to knock down barriers to gender equality. Hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Beyond 2020: The Future of the Global Family Planning Partnership

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 213, 5 to 7 p.m. PDT

Join us for a reception and discussion on FP2020 progress since the 2012 London Summit and reflections on the future of family planning beyond 2020. Participants will review and discuss preliminary findings of the ongoing global consultation to define a vision for rights-based family planning to 2030, including ideas for how to best sustain and accelerate family planning progress as a key driver for achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and unlocking the potential of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Wednesday, June 5


When Girls Rise, We All Rise
Vancouver Convention Center, Room 208-209, 6 to 8 a.m. PDT

Join a Girl Up and Rise Up interactive session marking the launch of their new Girls’ Voices Curriculum. Youth activists from around the world will lead dynamic activities and an engaging dialogue over breakfast, using the new curriculum. The curriculum is an important tool for girl-led advocacy that amplifies girls’ voices and enables them to lead change in their own communities to build a stronger movement for gender equality. RSVP here.

The Benefits of Investing in Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 217-219, 6:30 to 8 a.m. PDT

This session will showcase examples of how corporate action and private-public partnerships can improve Women’s Health and Empowerment in the workplace, and how women and business can gain from these programs. We aim to bring together representatives of organizations and companies already engaged in women’s workplace health and empowerment, companies with large female global supply chains with interest to engage in this area, governments in supply chain countries, NGOs, UN agencies and donors, and other representatives of the Women Deliver audience. Companies including major leaders in the apparel industry such as Nordstrom, Hela, Shahi and MAS Holdings will share their impactful experiences on how they are stepping up to improve women’s workplace health and empowerment. We will also hear from the Tara Health Foundation on impact investing. Hosted by UNFPA, UN Foundation, UN Global Compact and the Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA), and Meridian Group International, Inc. RSVP here.

Measuring What is Hidden: Amplifying Community Voices and Closing Digital Gender Gaps

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 110, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PDT

Innovative data approaches promote inclusion by measuring what is often hidden or by amplifying community voices in ways that are missing from official statistics. This session will showcase three innovative data collection and analysis examples: how community-generated data can improve public service delivery; how big data can provide insight into gender-based violence and women’s digital inclusion; and how data can be collected on hidden experiences such as abortion. Participants will learn how to find solutions to limitations in official statistics.

In the Driver’s Seat: Advocacy to Power Gender Data; Gender Data to Power Advocacy

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 208-209, 3 to 4 p.m. PDT

Advocating for data, but not sure what to call for? Using data for advocacy, but not sure where to find it? This interactive workshop will address effective advocacy for gender data and using gender data for impactful advocacy. You’ll leave with tools to assess data gaps and understand how advocates can call for and use data. To achieve gender equality, gender data cannot take a back seat – it must be in the driver’s seat.

Advancing Women in the Workplace and the World, Today and in the Future

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 221-222, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. PDT

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute found that countries could add $12 trillion to GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality at work and in society. This significant opportunity to leverage the power of parity and change the world for women and economies, however, has not yet been seized. Long-established barriers to women’s economic agency persist – from pay inequity and the unpaid care burden to the lack of digital inclusion and the reality that jobs for women are often unsafe and insecure. At the same time, how and if women work in the future will be significantly influenced by the age of automation, which will bring labor market disruption and the necessity to re-skill. The McKinsey Global Institute has prepared a new report, The Future of Women at Work, that examine these shifts. The concurrent lunch session is hosted by McKinsey & Company and the UN Foundation.


Thursday, June 6


The Power of We: Women & the Environment
Vancouver Convention Center, Room 220, 6 to 8 a.m. PDT

Climate change, environmental disasters, and pollution exacerbate gender-based health disparities, disproportionately affecting women who are often the most vulnerable, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This session will bring together leading experts across private, public, and nonprofit sectors, to discuss possible actions to safeguard women’s health as well as planetary health. This session is part of Johnson & Johnson’s “The Power of We” series, which explores the power of collaboration to drive change and solve global challenges and will feature the Clean Cooking Alliance.

Ending the Drudgery: Balancing the Burden of Unpaid Work

Vancouver Convention Center, Room 217-219, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PDT

Women everywhere balance unpaid work and care-giving responsibilities along with paid work. This session will explore how global commitments to achieving women’s economic empowerment take this balance into account- or not. Panelists will discuss how to better recognize, reduce, and redistribute women’s burden of domestic work and caregiving. Participants will learn about interventions that are not only proven to boost women’s economic prospects but have the potential for scale. Organized by Data2X, International Labour Organization, Oxfam Canada, International Development Research Centre.


visit us

Stop by our booths at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s Fueling Station to learn more about our work and the Journey to Power. Our booth numbers are: 237, 238, and 244 (UN Foundation); 540, 541, 548 and 549 (FP2020); and 243 (Girl Up).