First Women Leaders Summit on MDGs convened 50 influential and inspirational women leaders from religious, spiritual, academic and secular feminist backgrounds to engage in a multigenerational, inter-religious and interdisciplinary dialogue aiming to strengthen women’s leadership worldwide. The number “50” symbolizes a Chinese proverb saying that women, who constitute half of humanity, are needed to uphold half the sky.
Sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Religions for Peace-International, the UN Millennium Campaign, Won Buddhism International and the World Culture Open, the conference aims to build an effective network of women leaders engaged to achieve gender equality in all aspects of human life.
Gender equality is in fact essential to all of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because their established targets will ultimately affect the condition of women around the world.
Primary discussion topics, chosen for their significance to the achievement of women’s leadership and advancement, will include:
- using spirituality as a tool to stop violence against women and to insure gender equality;
- build a network of feminist leaders committed to implement a positive change within their communities and organizations
- bridge the efforts of the religious and secular feminist movements.
During the conference four meritorious women will be prized with the First Annual WON Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to humanity, and their lifetime commitment and achievements towards gender equality.
The Summit’s focus on gender equality also aims to facilitate partnerships between women leaders in preparation for the Universal Ethics Conference at the United Nations (October, 2011) where the ethical, moral and spiritual dimensions of the MDGs will take the center stage.