Building on the success of the first conference in 2016, this meeting brought together renowned gender experts and activists to share the impact of their work toward eliminating gender inequality around the world. With nearly 200 attendees from more than 30 countries, the event was a success at addressing gender issues at a global scale.
The theme of this year’s conference was Evidence to Impact. This theme informed the central question of the conference: how do we translate knowledge—from both research and personal experiences—into practice?
Collaboration is the solution. Conference Emcee Redi Tlhabi, a distinguished South African journalist, said: “For us to make progress in the fight against gender inequality, we need each other.”
Conference Director and RTI Global Gender Center Director Dr. Wendee Wechsberg explained, “Ending gender inequalities is the responsibility of all global citizens. We’re here to share collective wisdom, voices, to increase understanding and raise visibility. Our goal is to foster collaborations, exchange what we’ve learned, and become great agents of change.”
The conference included a forum on how to move impact into policy and further action, a poster reception featuring nearly 100 researchers from around the world, panel discussions, as well as symposiums on key topics such as keeping girls in school, reproductive health care, and access to HIV treatment.
Keynote speakers included:
- Agnes Pareyio, a Kenyan women’s rights activist, spoke on how ending female genital mutilation contributes to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
- Nabila El-Bassel, a professor of social work at Columbia University, presented on gender inequalities among refugee women.
- Glenda Gray, of the South African Medical Research Council, discussed treating and preventing HIV among women and children.
- Grizelda Grootboom, a South African human trafficking survivor and activist, shared a deeply personal story about her experience and how she works to support and rehabilitate other survivors.
The international venue for the event also allowed for participation from community representatives. Many local activists, including youth, shared their personal stories during the event. South African poets and singers also shared their talents with attendees. Notably, the Mzansi Youth Choir closed the conference with a moving performance.
Ultimately, this conference offered a space for networking and collaboration to inspire change. RTI Board of Governors member Hilda Pinnix-Ragland highlighted how RTI is turning knowledge into action. “We’re celebrating 60 years – 60 years of really changing the world.”