The International Women’s Summit - The Buzz Around the Speakers
With only a few weeks to go, the various pieces of the World YWCA Council 2011 and International Women’s Summit (IWS) puzzle are fitting into place and an attractive programme with a number of renowned speakers is being finalised for the benefit of participants from across the globe.
The International Women’s Summit is a continuation of the commitment made during the 2007 IWS in Nairobi, Kenya, which focused on Women’s Leadership on HIV. This year the focus will be more specifically on “Women Creating a Safe World”. The eclectic panel of speakers especially travelling to Zurich from various parts of the world to take part in the different plenaries, will include the charismatic Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and presently Executive Director of UN Women who will be speaking on ‘Inequality, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV and Violence: The nexus and agenda for women and girls over the next decade’; Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, speaking on ‘Investing in Young Women’s Leadership for Sexual and Reproductive Rights’; and Irene Ovonji Odinda, Chairperson for Action Aid International, who will be addressing the ‘Social and Economic Dimensions of Violence Against Women’. At each of the four plenaries, young women will also have a voice to express their point of view as well as their concerns for the future.
The World YWCA believes that one of the critical issues for a safe world includes women’s SRHR, including HIV and AIDS. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary of the World YWCA, said “In sub-Saharan Africa over 60% of the more than one million people living with HIV are women, therefore the focus on HIV and its linkage to SRHR is very important to us.” The safety of women, in their relationships and in their communities is a significant issue. In addition, the IWS will address the crucial issue of Violence Against Women (VAW). VAW is a result of the unequal distribution of power and economic resources, and therefore YWCA’s around the world engage to look into solutions that are important for women’s empowerment through education and economic improvement.
The IWS will be a unique place for members of the YWCA movement and its partners to come together, not only to discuss possible solutions, but also to define a future agenda for women and girls. There will be something for everyone at the IWS, and participants will certainly go home feeling more empowered and with a clearer vision and stronger motivation on the various issues.