World Conferences

The Global Network of Women’s Shelters started as an initiative group at the first World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Alberta (Canada) and was the co-organizer of the second and third World Conference of Women’s Shelters in 2012 and 2015. The fourth World Conference was organized by the Garden of Hope in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) in November 2019.

The World Conferences are meant to support and strengthen the women’s shelters movement and give shelters a public platform. Prominent key-note speakers like Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Reese Witherspoon and Denis Mukwege can support the shelter movement to promote the social change necessary to end violence and oppression against women and their children.

5th World Conference

September 15-18, 2025 in Sydney, Australia
The world’s largest conference by and for women’s shelters and those working to end gender-based violence is heading to the southern hemisphere for the first time! To be hosted by Wesnet (Australia) and the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), this conference is expected to attract 1,000+ delegates from 100+ countries. 5WCWS will give a massive boost to the common goal: to end all violence against women globally. To find out more information and to sign up for the conference newsletter:

4th World Conference

November 5-8, 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan
Organized by the Global Network of Women’s Shelters and hosted by the Garden of Hope Foundation, the 4th World Conference of Women’s Shelters (4WCWS) was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on November 5-8, 2019. The theme of 4WCWS was “Impact • Solidarity” to highlight the leading role that shelters play in developing systematic approaches to combatting gender-based violence. 4WCWS brought together 1,100 people from over 100 countries to network and share ideas on how to strengthen women shelters and end violence against women.

We were proud to present our Women’s Survivors Rap: Ask him why?

3rd World Conference

November 3-6, 2015 in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Hosted by Foundation of Women’s Shelters, the Netherlands, with support of the Dutch Government and lots of other sponsors. The conference was attended by 1000 delegates from 115 different countries. At the opening of the conference the first Women World News ever was presented. We broke the world record for one billion rising: under the inspiring guidance of Monique Wilson participants from 115 countries joined the one billion rising dance.
Speakers like Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Crownprincess Mary of Denmark and Dr Denis Mukwege – Nobel Prize for Peace in 2018 – from Congo, expressed the importance of prevention of Violenace Against Women and support for survivors and their children. Below you find a video with a short compilation of the highlights of the conference.

Chair of GNWS Bandana Rana presents the first copy of the Global Shelter Data Count report 2014-2015 to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

2nd World Conference

February 27 – March 1, 2012 in Washington, DC, USA
Hosted by the U.S. National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS), this conference was attended by 1400 women’s shelter delegates from 96 countries. The conference supported vibrant exchanges between regions and promoted the creation of regional women’s shelter networks where none existed. Attendees examined challenges, shared successes and inspirations, identified new solutions, and travelled home with the knowledge that they are part of a global network of women’s shelters that are implementing local, regional, national and international strategies for ending violence against women and children. As a closing act, the GNWS Board and body of conference delegates voted to adopt our first Call to Action.

1st World Conference

September 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The first World Conference of Women’s Shelters was held in September 2008, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and was hosted by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. The first World Conference of Women’s Shelters fulfilled its objectives by presenting a new opportunity for family violence prevention workers in Canada and around the world to network, to share proven innovations, and to learn from international experts and each other. During this conference, shelter organizations and national networks met to discuss issues impacting women and girls surviving violence. They identified the clear need to form a global organization (which became the Global Network of Women’s Shelters). For more information:

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