Announcement of the 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters, 3-6 November 2015, The Netherlands

The 3rd World Conference of Women's Shelters

Worldwide systematic approach to tackling violence against women

(The Hague, 10 December 2014 – Human rights day) Having held conferences in Canada and the United States, The Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) has asked the Netherlands to organise the 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in 2015. Women’s Shelters the Netherlands, the Dutch government and the municipality of The Hague have taken up this invitation with much enthusiasm. From 3 to 6 November 2015, the world conference will take place in the World Forum in The Hague.

1 in 3 women across the globe will be a victim of violence
Violence against women and girls may well form the most substantial and permanent breach of human rights of our times. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will become victims of violence. The uneven power relationship and economic inequality between men and women are usually the root cause. “The aim of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters is to create a world where women and their children are free from violence and discrimination and are able not only to gain knowledge but also have the freedom to use that knowledge to shape their own lives”, says Bandana Rana, chair of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters.

The Hague: international city of peace and (woman) rights
In order to strengthen the position of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters, the GNWS is basing its administrative headquarters in The Hague; the international city of peace and (women’s) rights. Mayor Jozias van Aartsen is delighted that the GNWS has chosen his city: “GNWS could not have chosen a better place. The rights of women and children are on the agenda in The Hague on a daily basis, where intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations are working to create a better world. For that reason, we also wholeheartedly welcome the GNWS headquarters to our international city of peace and justice.”

Alliance with industry
With its world conference, the GNWS would like to strengthen its existing network of women’s shelters and connect with other NGOs, governments and industry. Industry, in particular, forms an important link in the fight against violence. Employers can offer women from shelters a ‘safe’ place to work and strengthen the economic position of these women so that a relapse is avoided.

About the conference
The 3rd World Conference has positive responses from key UN Agencies – including UN Women and UNFPA – to partner in this initiative. The World Conference offers a forum for 1,500 to 2,000 employees from shelters and grass-root organisations across the world. It also offers a stage to several leading world citizens and international representatives to make a collective effort to eliminate violence against women and girls. From 10 December, participants can enroll for the conference via the intention registration system on the website:

About the Global Network of Women’s Shelters
The Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) is a global voice for survivors and the shelters that serve them. GNWS was founded in 2009 to unite and strengthen the women’s shelter movement globally in terms of bringing an end to violence against women and their children. GNWS is an active global network, united by a shared vision for an equal world where women and children live free from violence. We work to ensure global awareness of violence against women and children; support and strengthen the women’s shelter movement; promote effective policies and their implementation in order to prevent violence and protect and empower women and children; and promote social change that ends violence and oppression against women and children. GNWS encourages membership applications from shelters and other organisations working to create safe spaces for women, such as women’s shelters, refuges, safe homes, transition homes, and anti-violence centres. All member organisations must adhere to GNWS’ guiding principles, vision, and purpose.

About Federatie Opvang
Federatie Opvang is the umbrella organisation of the shelters in the Netherlands, fulfilling a leading role in providing lobbying and advocacy on behalf of its members. Federatie Opvang and its members have extensive expertise regarding violence against women, domestic violence, honour related violence, trafficking in human beings, and violence in dependency relationships.