Women Deliver conference 2016

Copenhagen, 16-19 May 2016

About Women Deliver 2016

The Women Deliver conference is the world's largest global gathering to discuss the health, rights and well-being of women and girls around the world.

This year the conference focused on how to implement the newly agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals, and how they relate to women and girls.

Discussions centred on issues of maternal, sexual and reproductive health. For more information, visit the Women Deliver website >

WaterAid at Women Deliver 

Lack of access to clean water, safe, private toilets, and hygiene affects women the most, and all three are necessary for women and girls to get an education, stay healthy, and fulfil their potential.

  • Water – the responsibility of collecting water mostly falls on women and girls, leaving them little time for school, work, and play.
  • Sanitation – 1.2 billion women and girls around the world are without a safe, private place to go to the toilet. Without this basic necessity, and with nowhere private to manage their periods, women and girls are vulnerable to disease, harassment, and even attack.
  • Healthcare –  42% of healthcare facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 38% in low- and middle-income countries, do not have access to clean water. Without safe water to keep hospitals clean, pregnant women and their newborns are at serious risk of infection and sepsis, which can be fatal. 

In September 2015, the UN agreed on the addition of Goal 6 to the SDGs – to reach everyone everywhere with access to clean, safe water, and basic toilets by 2030.

At Women Deliver, WaterAid held discussions on the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene for women and girls.

A press release with further information is available for download here.

Catch up on events and activities at Women Deliver 2016 >

Would you give birth without clean  water, soap and a toilet?Would you give birth without clean water, soap and a toilet?

Report from the ‘Would you give birth without clean water, soap and a toilet?’ event organised by WaterAid in partnership with Share Research consortium and Soapbox Collaborative, the Frontline Healthworkers Coalition, UN Foundation and IntraHealth International at the Women Deliver conference.

Tiffany Langston at Women Deliver conference. Women Deliver – day by day

Tiffany Langston, Communications Manager at WaterAid America, is at the conference. Read all her daily updates in one place to find out how we're engaging with delegates about water, sanitation and hygiene for women and girls.

Girls at school in Zambia. Girl talk: water, sanitation and hygiene at Women Deliver

Margaret Batty, Director of Global Policy and Campaigns at WaterAid UK, takes a look at the reasons why water, sanitation and hygiene are so crucial to the rights, development and wellbeing of women and girls around the world.

The contents of a woman's maternity bag, including a babygrow, baby socks and a bucket. Maternity bags around the world

Baby clothes, blankets – and razor blades. What women around the world decide to pack when they're preparing to give birth varies widely depending on their hospital's access to clean, running water. 

A midwife in Tanzania holding a baby. Parallel lives: experience life as a midwife

This interactive film allows you to experience a day in the life of a midwife in the UK, and in Tanzania, showing the difference that access to clean, safe water, sanitation and hygiene can make in a maternity ward.

Kamala standing outside her GothWhen your period is considered a curse

Chhaupadi is a tradition in mid-western Nepal in which women and girls are separated from the community and sleep in outdoor sheds during their menstruation. Cecile Shrestha, Associate Director of Program Development at WaterAid shares her experiences of visiting a community that pratises cchaupadi.  

For information or enquiries please contact Tiffany Langston (WaterAid America).

For media please contact Carolynne Wheeler (WaterAid UK).

Date and time



How to register

Tuesday 17 May
6pm – 7.30pm 

Breaking the Taboo: Protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of menstruating women and girls

Featuring youth rights activist Vivian Onano, WaterAid Rwanda’s Anne Mutabaruka, Nina Besser of the International Women’s Health Coalition and moderator Elizabeth Ford from The Guardian.


Wednesday 18 May
7am – 8.30am

Would you give birth without clean water, soap and a toilet?

An event focusing on the need for water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities to improve maternal and newborn health.

Featuring speakers from WaterAid Rwanda, Unicef, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Centre for Health and Gender Equity, and Every Women Every Child as well as a a community health expert from Zambia, Dr Margorie Makukula.


Wednesday 18 May

Live challenge: could you carry a 25-litre jerrycan of water while pregnant?

WaterAid will be conducting this experience in partnership with Girls Globe. 


Throughout Women Deliver conference  WaterAid film screenings Screenings of The ultimate pregnancy test, Across The Tracks, and Parallel Lives Closed.