In early June, Dining for Women co-founder Barb Collins, staff members Wendy Frattolin and Justine Allen, and volunteer Regional Leaders Karen McCune (Northwest Region), Pat Payne (West Region), and Colleen Kill (West Region) attended Women Deliver in Vancouver, Canada. Women Deliver is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women; it is held only once every three years. Our Regional Leaders recently reflected on their experiences at this event.
Colleen Kill described “the excitement of being around 8,000 dynamic women and men from 165 countries – many in traditional dress – and listening to inspiring women’s stories from activists who have been instrumental in positive change for women around the world.” Highlights for Pat Payne included listening to “heros like Tarana Burke who founded the “Me Too” movement in the U.S. and Navina Escales who founded the “Ni Una Menos” movement in Argentina to fight gender-based violence.” Also on hand, among many others, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, who announced his commitment of over $1.4 billion internationally to support women’s rights, and Melinda Gates, who spoke of the need for women to be involved in advancing technology to build a better future.
Karen McCune noted “what a privilege it was to represent Dining for Women at the Women Deliver Conference. As I met people and described Dining for Women, I often used the term “gender equity,” but after four jam-packed days and evenings at the conference, gender equity took on a deeper and clearer meaning to me.” She noted that the conference attendees and presenters have all directed their energy and power to advocating for a world in which women and girls have “access to total health care, education, and fair legal representation; and can expect sexual and reproductive rights, participation in politics and decision-making, freedom from gender-based violence, and economic freedom through access to land, credit, water, and energy.”
“This conference brought home to me,” added Colleen, “how each of us needs to use her individual power to effect change for women and girls in our community, within our country, and around the world. Talent is universal, but opportunity is not! We can change that.” Pat echoed that “when like-minded women’s organizations find common ground in the fight for gender equality and join hands, the community of women becomes more powerful and effective as change-makers.”
Clearly, Pat, Colleen, and Karen left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose. Added Karen, “I came away proud of the grassroots, community based work we are doing at Dining for Women and more committed than ever to our mission and vision.”
Videos from the conference are available for on demand viewing. Go here and click on the Menu bar on the top right side, and then select Virtual Conference.