HealthBridge staff attended the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver in June. It was the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. There were over 8,000 delegates from all around the world, and representatives from more than 150 countries. Speakers included world leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Presidents of Ghana and Ethiopia, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too’ movement, youth advocates, researchers, and international non-governmental organization leaders also spoke. Burke was on a panel on the Power of Movements and What Happens When Many Demand Change.
Prime Minister Trudeau helped to strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in advancing the health and rights of women, adolescents and children around the globe when he announced a 10-year, $1.4 billion annual investment. Canada already provides $1.1 billion in women’s health funding worldwide, with $400 million for sexual and reproductive health. The $300 million increase, beginning in 2023, will also support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), bringing the total annual SRHR spending up to $700 million a year.
At the conference, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced a $325 million to fund projects that improve the quality of, access to and demand for integrated reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, services and information in vulnerable communities around the world. It will support projects that seek to address and overcome the underlying social norms, practices and barriers that cause gender inequality.
These important funding announcements will help the people and communities we serve, and it comes at a time when some other countries are pulling support away from these critical health equity issues.