WD2019 Official Opening Press Conference Press Release – Investing in girls and women will deliver progress for all.

World’s Largest Conference on Gender Equality Opens in Vancouver with a
Call to Redefine Power at Every Level

Heads of state from four nations sat side-by-side young leaders and grassroots advocates as delegates from more than 165 countries kicked off the Women Deliver 2019 Conference

(Vancouver, Canada) – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, kicked off on the 3rd of June with more than 8,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists gathered in Vancouver, and more than 100,000 participating in a global dialogue around the world through satellite events and WDLive, the virtual conference. 1,400 youth delegates from 139 countries are expected to attend the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, where every plenary program and most concurrents feature a young person.

The conference will focus on power, and how it can drive – or hinder – progress and change; and how societies must redefine the concept of ‘power’ and use it as a force for good.

The conference will examine power operating at three levels:
The Individual’s Power – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will examine girls’ and women’s individual power, self-esteem and agency. And how to strengthen that power.
Structural power – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will explore and challenge systems, barriers, and opportunities for progress in power relations, including political, economic, and social structures.

The Power of Movements – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will dive into the power of movements, and how we can shape critical consciousness and marshal collective action for change.
While the Women Deliver 2019 Conference and global dialogue will place a special emphasis on power, the conference will offer solutions to fill the gap on a vast array of issues crucial to gender equality: economic empowerment, women and the environment, nutrition, education, political participation, preventing gender-based violence, health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, and much more.

“The Women Deliver 2019 Conference is much more than a conference, it is one important step on the march towards gender equality,” said Katja Iversen, Women Deliver President/CEO at the opening press conference. “We all have power to contribute to a more gender equal world. If we use our individual and collective power – boldly, smartly and collaboratively — progress will follow.”

“The Women Deliver conference will be a truly historic week. I look forward to joining many grassroots leaders and advocates who have dedicated their lives to defending and advancing women’s rights. We know we can’t take our foot off the pedal, not even for a moment. I’ll be at the conference to show Canada’s leadership on gender equality isn’t going anywhere, and that we’re not just speaking up, but stepping up too.”

The conference will take place from 3-6 June 2019 at the Vancouver Convention Center. Additional key speakers include:
Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too’ movement
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International
Farwiza Farhan, Leader, Forest, Nature, and Environment Aceh
Henrietta H Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
Ken Frazier, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Merck + Co., Inc.
Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Waneek Horn-Miller, Indigenous Olympian
Hina Jilani, Supreme Court of Pakistan
Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA
Angélique Kidjo, Grammy Award winning singer
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Deliver for Good Influencer, Women Deliver
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuko, Executive Director, UN Women
Osvaldo Rudloff, Executive Director, OLACEFS (Latin American and Caribbean Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions)
Ailbhe Smyth, Co-Director, Together for Yes
Theo Sowa, CEO, African Women’s Development Fund
Maysoon Zayid, Actress, Comedian, Writer and Disability Advocate

The conference has sparked a global dialogue around the world through satellite events and virtual participation. To date, more than 186 events on six continents have registered as satellite events, estimated to reach more than 82,000 people.

Canada has especially seen a strong effort to mobilize community engagement around the conference through the Women Deliver Mobilization Canada campaign. With events in every region and most provinces and territories, thousands of Canadians have joined together over the past year to advance the conversation on gender equality.

Anyone can tune into the conference for free through the virtual conference, WDLive, which will be streaming from 3-6 June 2019 on wd2019.org.

About Women Deliver. Women Deliver is a leading global advocate that champions gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women.

Our advocacy drives investment – political and financial – in the lives of girls and women worldwide. We harness evidence and unite diverse voices to spark commitment to gender equality. And we get results.

Anchored in sexual and reproductive health, we advocate for the rights of girls and women across every aspect of their lives.

We know that investing in girls and women will deliver progress for all.

And every three years, we galvanize momentum at the global Women Deliver Conference – our signature event. It’s a bold and diverse gathering, a fueling station of ideas, and generator of action, convening thousands of decision-makers from civil society, governments, the private sector, and international agencies alongside advocates, activists, and journalists to identify solutions and drive change for girls and women.

Media Contacts :
Women Deliver : Bijoyeta Das, bdas@womendeliver.org, 617-953-0755

Copyright © 2019 Women Deliver

Adebisi Adetunji –  Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.c

Progress Made in The Abandonment of FGM in Nigeria

FACTS ABOUT FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. Effects of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcisions are enormous and have long term physical, emotional, psychological effects on women and girls. These include bleeding, shock, infections, leakage of urine/feces (VVF), genital tissue swelling, birth complications, emotional trauma, sexual health issues, problems with their partners/spouses and death.

About 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the effects of female genital mutilation according to
Female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. It is a form of gender-based violence.

6 states have a high prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: Imo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Edo States.

 

PUBLIC DECLARATION BY COMMUNITIES TO ELIMINATE FGM

Members of the Oyo Messi Elders Council at the Oyo state public declaration to Abandon FGM

Izzi Clan, Ebonyi State

At Izzi community, a young girl in the company of two other girls fled from home one night as they were about to go through the initiation rite to womanhood which included female genital mutilation. Their brave attempt to escape led to the intervention of the child protection network, UNICEF, Ministry of women affairs and this started the process of engaging the custodians of culture in Izzi community in a sensitization effort. On the 16th of June 2017, 26 communities in Izzi clan and three other LGA (Abakaliki, Ebonyi, and Izzi) made a public declaration on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. The declaration was signed by the traditional ruler’s forum and custodians of the Izzi culture and royal fathers.

Imo State

On the 23rd of November, 2018 the several sensitization and education of many communities by UNICEF, NOA and other partners culminated into the public declaration of 28 communities in Ngor-Okpala Local government to abandon Female Genital Mutilation. At the event were the State Director NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF Consultant on FGM for Ebonyi and Imo, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, traditional rulers, groups of women, men and the youths representing the various communities.

Oyo State

One of the traditional practices upheld by some parts of the Yoruba land is the act of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision. On the 20th of December 94 communities in Oyo from Oorelope 49, Kajola 24, and Oyo West 21(LGAs) made a public declaration to abandon the practice of FGM.
After several community engagements with community members and public enlightenment with various stakeholders( artisans, youth, men and women’s groups, traditional and religious leaders) communities in Oorelope, Kajola, and Oyo West made the decision to henceforth protect the future of girls and women by putting an end to FGM.

The public declaration of these communities took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; representatives of UNICEF , Dr. Olasunmbo Odebode, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF and Mrs Olutayo Aderonke , the UNICEF Consultant for FGM in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun explains and High chiefs of Oyo Messi were all present at the public declaration to eliminate FGM.

Benefits of public declaration: Endcuttinggirls website

Osun State

Similarly, 38 communities in Osun state held an event in 2018 where community members and stakeholders signed an undertaking to eliminate the harmful cultural practice of FGM. Osun state has the highest prevalence of FGM practice in southwest Nigeria. In the words of the UNICEF consultant on FGM for Osun, Oyo and Ekiti, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, “the event rewrites history and marks a new chapter for the next generation of girls and women in these communities”. The state director NOA, Osun, Mrs. Yomi Olasinde and other partners were present at this historic event.

Edo State

In January 2019, Edo State passed the Violence Against Persons Bill into Law. This law makes provision for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation to be sentenced to “life imprisonment”, without a fine in the state.

Media campaign on Radio, TV and social media have greatly contributed to increased awareness about the long term effect of FGM on women and girls. There are ongoing education and sensitization among school students. This is to equip the young generation with the necessary information so that they can be empowered to say NO and also prevent their own children from being cut in the future.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

You are Not Less ; You are So Much More #IWD2019

A short message from my heart to every woman on this special day. Happy International women’s day!

 

#XXFILES women Radio crew on Premier FM 93.5 from the stable of Radio Nigeria Ibadan

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The First Lady Mechanic in Nigeria – Sandra Aguebor #IWD2019

The International Women’s Day celebration is marked all over the world on the 8th of March every year. It is a day intended to draw attention to the peculiar challenges women face in the society and to keep tab of progress made in achieving gender equality and rights of women.

A few women making their mark in fields otherwise thought to be male terrain caught my attention and I want to bring you the story of one of them.

I present to you the woman, Sandra Aguebor known as the “The Lady Mechanic”. It is a big deal to have a woman working to repair cars and automobiles, especially in the African, Nigerian context. Sandra’s interest in car repair was sparked from as early as age 14. One day she asked her father to take her to the nearest mechanic workshop and fortunately, he didn’t frown about this and obliged her. Against her mother’s wishes and cry of, “this work is for men and not good for a woman”, Sandra started to go every day to the mechanic workshop even after school to watch and learn. Her love for the job grew and she made up her mind to pursue this career path.

Sandra Aguebor went on to become the First Female Auto-mobile Mechanic in Nigeria after graduation from school and started the “SANDEX CARE“, workshop. She offers free training empowering vulnerable girls and women with technical and mechanical skills to give them dignity and improved economic life.

Sandra soon launched the Lady Mechanic Initiative where she runs a skills acquisition programme for women from disadvantaged background and survivors of trafficking and sex slave trade; single mums and child labor victims. Because of her love for empowering girls like her who would want to pursue a career path in engineering, The Lady Mechanic Initiative also began an After School Club where Sandra and her team engaged school girls in outreaches.

Courses/training The Lady Mechanic Initiative offers
• Lady Auto-mobile Technician
• Lady Speed Boat Technician
• Lady Mechanic Professional Driver
• Lady Mechanic Speed Boat Driver
• Lady Mechanic Generator Repair Expert
• Lady Mechanic Summer School Class

The Initiative has a vision to mentor and transform 100 thousand girls/women into role models and change agents in their communities across Africa by the year 2025 through sustained innovative approaches to skill impartation and healthy mental guidance. So far about 17, 000 have benefitted from her training programmes.

Every girl can achieve her dreams – Breaking the glass ceilings. 

 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com