The Largest Global Gathering of Women

Overview of the Effort to Bring the Fifth World Conference on Women in San Francisco in 2015

5wcw logoIn partnership with Mayor Lee, the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women adopted a resolution in March 2011. Since then, the Department has moved forward over the past year to gain support for a Fifth UN World Conference on Women (5WCW) and the hosting of such a conference in San Francisco. This has included meetings between Commissioners and the US State Department Office of Women’s Issues, as well as representatives of UN Women. In response to the UN’s March announcement to hold a conference, the Department seeks broad City support for submitting a pre-bid to the UN and engaging in other bidding activities. 

The public is invited to join the monthly 5WCW Steering Committee meetings.


On March 8, International Women's Day 2012—following significant advocacy over a decade by the Department and its affiliated organizations—the Secretary-General of the United Nations and President of the UN General Assembly proposed to hold 5WCW in 2015. The event would follow, after two decades, the Fourth Conference held in Beijing in 1995.

As is usual for UN conferences, 5WCW would consist of two separate events over seven to twelve days: the official UN conference and a separate Global Forum plus exhibition open to NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders.
We propose to hold the core 5WCW meetings at the Moscone Center in 2015. This would include hosting a public/private Global Women Forum. We propose to accommodate a total of 25,000 badged individuals, with up to 15,000 additional visitors and attendees.

Major Benefits

Economic. 5WCW would have an economic impact in line with San Francisco’s larger meeting events, delivering Hotel Occupancy Tax, Sales Tax, and taxes from air travel in and out of SFO.

International Profile. This event helps establish San Francisco's role as the West Coast capitol for policy, builds the city's reputation for being able to host large, globally relevant policy events, and leverages the city's APEC hosting. The reach is enormous. For instance, the State Department reported that the 7000 US attendees in 1995 were the largest single movement of civilian Americans to a single destination.

Policy Leadership

This conference is an opportunity for San Francisco to facilitate innovative partnerships between corporations, NGOs and the United Nations.
San Francisco proposes to host the conference in a way that defines the agenda for human sustainability in the 21st Century and reinvigorates efforts in every single UN nation to expand rights and opportunities for women. With guidance from the General Assembly, the conference and forum would seek to drive implementation of policies, programs, and promotion to sustainably improve the condition of women with respect to 14 or more measures, including violence, civil rights, political participation, military issues (UN Security Council Resolution 1325), equal access to decent work, rural life, aid effectiveness, food security, human trafficking, drugs, migration, environment, climate change and information technology. For both public sector and private sector employers, San Francisco would use hosting to advance worldwide employer adoption of its seven Gender Equality Principles (

Conference Overview

Attendance. The conference and forum combined will involve a core of 25,000 badged participants, including official government delegates, registered NGOs, business delegates, media, event staff, and badged support. Depending on UN needs, and non-badged entourage and visitors, we could accommodate a maximum of 40,000 visitors.

Physical Hosting. San Francisco's Moscone Center is reserved for July 20-30, 2015. It has the space to support all core official working meetings, official deliberative assemblies, exhibition, Global Women Forum, secretariat and documentation center functions, media center, and bilateral meeting rooms. It also has the ability to receive motorcades and loading dock functions in a secure underground area below the facility.
Secondary locations for additional meetings will be held in hotels, such as the San Francisco Hilton or Westin St. Francis, with large conference facilities, and in universities supporting our initiatives, such as Stanford University. Those meeting rooms would be negotiated at no cost.
Housing. There are sufficient sleeping rooms in the immediate area and within a 14 mile radius to accommodate 25,000-40,000 participants. This would meet all needs for delegation working space and delegation sleeping room needs.
We would work with nearby properties for room blocks, and we would work with universities and private individuals on dormitory and home stay arrangements for participants needing assistance.

Teleconference Track

A goal of 5WCW-SF would be to ensure significant representation from key world areas, including the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. San Francisco will work with teleconferencing providers to enable a teleconference track for both the main deliberative assembly and working meetings as well as to broadcast the Global Women Forum.


We anticipate the cost to be revenue neutral or low cost for the City. As with APEC, the UN, US Government, and individual countries will cover direct expenses for the official meetings. Host committee activities, the forum, and exhibition will be covered by grants, corporate sponsorship, registration fees, and exhibition fees. Offsetting the City's direct costs would be travel and tourism related taxes.

The Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women (a 501(c)3 organization) will serve as the fiscal agent. We plan to manage revenue and expenses to be revenue positive or neutral. Any residual earnings would be applied toward ongoing work of the Friends to follow up conference results.



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