On June 3 to 6, 2019, the City of Vancouver hosted the 5th Women Deliver global conference focused on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. Bonnie Foley-Wong, CEO of Pique Ventures, was there and was keen to meet other individuals who have the courage to invest in change.
Women Deliver was founded by Jill W. Sheffield, a global educator and advocate for maternal, reproductive, and sexual health and rights. Sheffield also previously co-founded Family Care International, a non-profit global organization focused on “improving the maternal health of women in the world’s poorest nations.”
The first ever Women Deliver conference was hosted in London, UK in 2007, attracting 2,000 people from 115 countries. Its aim was to put Millennium Development Goal 5 – Improve Maternal Health – on the global development agenda. That development goal has since evolved into UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality. Subsequent conferences have been held every three years. To give you a sense of the conference’s growth, the second conference was held in 2010 in Washington, D.C. and the number of participants nearly doubled to 3,500. Women Deliver’s third global conference, was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2013.
In 2014, Women Deliver appointed the current CEO, Katja Iversen, and the scope of the organization grew even more. In 2016, Women Deliver took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 6000 people from more than 150 countries. Women Deliver is a prominent advocate for gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. The fifth running of the conference has been 2 years in the making since it was first announced in 2017 that Vancouver, Canada would host the event.
Per the Women Deliver website FAQs, the global conference “will look at the different issues affecting women’s lives and will hone in on solutions and drive action in girls’ and women’s health – including maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights – education, environment, political participation, economic empowerment, human rights, gender-based violence, and access to resources.”
The increased adoption of reproductive healthcare and family planning is ranked the seventh biggest contributor to reversing global warming by Project Drawdown. “Honouring the dignity of women and children through family planning is not about governments forcing the birth rate down (or up, through natalist policies). Nor is it about those in rich countries, where emissions are highest, telling people elsewhere to stop having children. When family planning focuses on healthcare provision and meeting women’s expressed needs, empowerment, equality, and well-being are the result; the benefits to the planet are side effects.”
Bonnie has previously written about how she is a fierce advocate for people building businesses and families at the same time. She is a proponent of people, especially women, having access to relevant and accurate information, having the freedom to make choices that are right for them given their particular circumstances, and being supported in those choices they make.
More broadly, a number of key beliefs underpin her mission, vision, and impact investing strategy at Pique Ventures:
- We believe the purpose of business and investing is to take care of the village – the village is us, the planet, and future generations.
- We believe in compassionate, integrated decision-making – that is, integrating analysis, emotion, body, and intuition into our investment decisions.
- We believe in leadership diversity. We only have to look to nature to see that diverse ecosystems thrive, whereas monocultures – although they might grow fast in the near term – become riddled with disease and are not self-sustaining in the long run. Our social and economic ecosystems grow fast in the near term, but suffer in the long run, and we need leadership diversity for all the participants in the ecosystem to thrive.
Whilst care, healthcare, digital health, and investing in women-led ventures are part of Pique Ventures’ investment focus areas, we are not exclusively investing in ventures that impact the reproductive health and rights of women. Women Deliver was an opportunity for interesting conversations and potential for common ground between Pique’s mission and vision and the aim of the conference.
If you were at Women Deliver and would like to learn more about Pique Ventures and how we’re investing in a diverse community of entrepreneurs building companies that care, connect, and protect, feel free to contact us and share more about the impact you’d like to see in the world and what you’re looking for. We are currently focused on raising Pique Fund 2 and would love to discuss potential partnerships and opportunities for impact investors – new and experienced – to invest in the fund. If you are an entrepreneur seeking funding, please refer to Pique’s investment criteria and intake form.
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About Pique Ventures
Pique Ventures is an impact investment and management company. Pique Ventures enables a diverse community of investors to pursue integrated investing. Integrated Investing is a proprietary investment decision-making methodology to help create a better world and was developed specifically to evaluate impact and early-stage ventures.