Trailblazing Moments at Women Deliver 2023

Disability inclusion took center stage at this year’s Women Deliver conference, one of the largest multi-sectoral convenings to advance gender equality. Thanks to WEI’s meticulous planning and tireless advocacy behind the scenes and our strong presence at WD2023 in Kigali, Rwanda this July, 6000+ global attendees witnessed the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities across all spheres of participation, in keeping with the conference theme: “Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions.”

Three WEI advocates and This Ability KenyaAs a strategic partnership through participation on the Women Deliver Advisory Committee, and also as disability and accessibility experts, WEI co-designed and championed the accessibility strategy for the massive gathering. This included ensuring accessibility in all aspects of the event, from plenary and concurrent sessions, to community gatherings and side events.

As part of Women Deliver’s Communications and Advocacy Committee, WEI led a coordinated effort to integrate accessibility across communications – from registration materials, schedules, and pre-conference announcements – to on-site maps and signage, social media and press packets. These accessible communications amplified global messages of inclusivity and empowerment.

Proudly, we brought a member of the Inclusive Generation Equality Collective who was instrumental in the creation of the groundbreaking Feminist Accessibility Protocol. Read more about Shelia’s role at Women Deliver here. Notably, Women Deliver was the first to sign on to the Protocol and commit to making feminist spaces accessible for all.

A full room at the Women Deliver Disability Solidarity Space. Our Disability Solidarity Space at Women Deliver 2023 was an inspiring and vibrant meeting ground where over 120 #FeministsWithDisabilities came together to share insights and build a community of connection.

Members of the WEI delegation were featured experts throughout the conference, including participating in panel discussions to promote intersectional advocacy efforts and the importance of collecting disability-disaggregated data. We hosted a virtual session that reached feminists with disabilities from all corners of the world, and Executive Director, Maryangel Garcia-Ramos was spotlighted as a plenary speaker on the topic of movement building.

Maryangel speaks into a microphone at Women Deliver.
Photo via Women Deliver.

Maryangel spoke of growing a movement alongside Stacey Abrams, Former Georgia State Representative; Liz Fraser, CEO & Brand President Kate Spade; Mabel Van Oranje, Founder and Board Chair of Girls Not Brides; Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe, Founder of Sewing Hope Foundation; and Cleopatra Kambugu Kentaro, Director of Programs at East African Sexual Health & Rights Initiative. The space was moderated by international journalist Femi Oke, and the discussion included how we can build solidarity and join forces in order to shift power on an unprecedented global scale.

Explore our Instagram story highlights to relive these and other remarkable moments at WD2023. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Women Deliver, fellow attendees, and the incredible community in Kigali, Rwanda, who made this conference inclusive, intersectional, and a resounding success!