Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was among the speakers at the Opening Ceremony of the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen yesterday.
The Crown Princess spoke about how she was inspired to take up the cause of women’s rights seven years ago, when someone from Chad told her that in their country “when a woman gives birth she has one foot in the grave.”
“That 300 000 women die globally every year from giving birth is not okay,” Crown Princess Mary said in her speech. “That 15-million girls are married off before 18 every year is not okay. That 3-million girls experience female genital mutilation each year is not okay.”
“Ninety per cent of new maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented with the help of skilled birth attendants,” she added. “This agenda is now a woman’s agenda but a united agenda for humanity that involves men, women, girls and boys. Let’s look to new horizons. Together let’s deliver for girls to have choice, not chance. And let’s agree less bad is never good enough.”
The Princess also focused on the urgent need to close the gender gap. “It will require strong and authentic leadership from governments and civil society,” she said. “We need country and local ownership of the agenda, which leads to commitment and to results. By working as one and closing the gender gap we become more powerful.”
Crown Princess Mary isn’t the only Royal speaking out about gender equality; Princess Mabel and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands will also be speaking at the Conference tomorrow. Princess Mabel will be talking about the regional perspectives of making Sustainable Development Goals work for women while Her Majesty will speak about how investing in women’s economic empowerment might bring an end to poverty.
The Royal ladies are at the Conference joined by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen; Dr Margaret Chan‚ head of the WHO; Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard; and Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save The Children USA.
At the opening ceremony, Singer Annie Lennox, who is the ambassador for UNAids, brought the attendees to their feet with her powerful declaration that feminism isn’t a swear word, and that both men and women could be feminists. Sakena Yacoobi‚ who faced Taliban gunmen to fight for the rights of young girls‚ also spoke out, saying that “education for girls is the key to prevent so many of these problems.”
The aim of the Women Deliver Conference 2016 is to implement the Sustainable Development Goals for girls and women, with a focus on maternal, sexual, and reproductive health, as well as gender equality, education, environment, and economic empowerment.Crown Princess Mary is Patron of the event, which is annually attended by a number of world leaders and eminent people working towards the cause. This year the Conference will be held from 16 -19 May.