• Australia's contingent at the Women Deliver included FIFA ExCo member Moya Dodd, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former senator Natasha Stott Despoja (Twitter)Source: Twitter
A global conference on the rights, health, and wellbeing of girls and women has confirmed what we’ve been saying all along - sport is incredibly important for development.
Jill Scanlon

26 May 2016 - 3:00 PM  UPDATED 26 May 2016 - 3:00 PM

Last week in Copenhagen, the largest global conference for a decade was held on the rights, health and well-being of girls and women.

The big guns were out with HRH Crown Princess Mary kicking off proceedings as the Patron of the conference where guests and speakers included former female Prime Ministers from across the globe, philanthropic giants like Melinda Gates, sports stars, government ministers, advocates for girls and women and highly credentialed development practitioners from the fields of health, gender equality and much more all taking part.

Part of the agenda was addressing the issue of sport and the difference it can make as a tool for development in the lives of girls across the world but especially in developing countries.

With an audience in attendance of more than 5000 people and more engaging through digital forums internationally taking part observing many panel discussions and plenary sessions, one of the key topics to have emerged in recent years as a strong driver of development was sport.

Australia’s own Moya Dodd was a special guest and speaker taking part in an impressive panel on the first full day of the four day conference discussing the power of sport in women’s lives and the power of women in sport.

Following the exchange on the big stage Dodd also took time out to explain why sport is so important for girls and women to participate in and how she is working within her own sport -- football – at the highest level to create change.

This was the 4th Women Deliver Conference but the first in which sport was a topic and it was a welcome addition for many.

The conference raised many serious questions and many insightful debates were shared but it also created excitement and enthusiasm around many plans and initiatives moving forward.

However, it was not all just serious discussion: there was also time to play as organisers, participants and some special visitors took part in some actual sport.

The teams formed for the early morning football tournament were based on the 17 SDGs!

There also seemed to be those who actually had a bit of experience.

By the end of the week the lasting message was of great hope for gender issues, girl’s and women’s health issues in all parts of their lives and for the work being done addressing these.