About 4WCWS


Situated conveniently in the friendly and sunny port city of Kaohsiung, the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center is south Taiwan’s premium conference venue.


4WCWS is a chance to network with 1,500 inspiring people, learn about shelter services in other countries, and discuss ending gender-based violence.


The 4WCWS agenda has been developed in consultation with shelters all over the world to explore relevant issues and learn about best practices.


4WCWS takes place on November 5-8, 2019. Start making plans to come now!



Tue, 19 Mar 2024

The world’s largest conference, by and for women’s shelters and those working to end gender-based violence, is heading to Australia! The 5th World Conference of Women’s Shelters (5WCWS) is being held in Sydney, Australia, from September 15th-18th 2025. 


GNWS Global Helplines Project booth at 4WCWS
Fri, 13 Dec 2019

After the success of the 4th World Conference of Women’s Shelters, we are holding a follow-up webinar on the Global Network of Women's Shelters' Worldwide Women’s Helpline Project titled “Creating a Global Safety Network”.

GNWS Global Helplines Project map
Fri, 22 Nov 2019

At the Fourth World Conference of Women's Shelters (4WCWS) the Global Network of Women's Shelters (GNWS) launched a Worldwide Women’s Helplines Project to create a dependable global website that lists accurate, approved, safe resources for victims of domestic and sexual violence in every cou

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About the Conference

The 4WCWS program reflects the key issues facing both the shelter community and the broader movement to end violence against women today, and is designed to produce maximum participation, learning and networking opportunities for delegates.

The four-day agenda is divided into five plenary sessions, bookended by an opening and closing ceremony, with additional study tours to shelter and other organizations in southern Taiwan on the final day. Between the plenary sessions there is a choice of over 120 workshops and short presentations by experts and practioners from around the world.

The goals of 4WCWS are to strengthen the role of women shelters in systematic approaches to combating violence against women; reinforce, mobilize, and increase the effectiveness and influence of the global and regional shelter networks as leaders in the effort to end violence against women; kick-start global projects and initiatives to support women shelters and combat violence; and raise awareness among governments, international organisations, the corporate sector, and the general public about the problems of violence against women to stimulate actions to support shelters.

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4WCWS Hosts:  

Keynote Speakers

Yalitza Aparicio / Mexico

Oscar nominated leading actress - Roma

Born in 1993 in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Trained as a primary school teacher, Yalitza Aparicio auditioned for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma almost by chance. Since the day she was cast for the role of Cleo, she has intentionally used her new platform to advocate for gender equality, indigenous rights, and the rights of domestic workers. Her work has challenged the power structures present in the media and the film industry. She was the first indigenous woman to appear on the cover of Vogue Mexico, the first indigenous woman nominated for an Academy Award and the second Mexican woman ever nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress. Since her work in Roma, Yalitza has attended numerous conferences for the promotion of human rights and of Mexican culture, often as a speaker.
In March, 2019 she spoke at the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations as the keynote speaker for International Women’s Day, discussing the need to treat domestic work with dignity and respect in the talk “A Quantum Leap for Gender Equality: For A Better Future of Work for All,” in partnership with the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance (NDWA) in the U.S., the Centro de Apoyo y Capacitación para Empleadas del Hogar (CACEH) and Semillas in Mexico. She is also the face of the ILO’s Fight Racism campaign, launched March 2019. Furthermore, Yalitza’s and Roma’s campaign helped pass a Labor and Social Security law in Mexico protecting the rights of domestic workers.
She participated in the One Billion on Foot campaign, which took place in over 200 countries and aimed to personify the collective opposition against gender violence. Only those who actively oppose gender violence and who are among the more than a billion women affected by gendered violence participated in the march. In addition, As a representative of the “Zero Violence Against Women” campaign at the International Film Festival of Guanajuato, she has advocated against the pervasive violence experienced by women in Mexico.

In May 2019, she was presented with a Changemaker Award by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). She was also presented with a Pride of My City Award from the LGBTI community in Mexico City in December 2018, who she thanked on her Instagram, writing, “I know we are living in difficult times as a society, but we must keep working to change things. We may be black, white, tall, short, straight, gay, or whatever else, but we all deserve to be treated with respect.”
That year, Yalitza worked with the Mexican Comission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights to narrate the animated short “Arbitrary Executions.” Yalitza works to make her messages of equality inclusive, especially to children: she has appeared on Sesame Street (Mexico) with messages of empowerment, and has worked with schoolchildren from Oaxaca to raise money for schools in her hometown of Tlaxiaco.
Finally, Yalitza has positioned herself as a cultural advocate for the communities of Tlaxiaco, of Oaxaca, and of Mexico itself. She is the ambassador of the annual Oaxacan cultural festival La Guelaguetza, which is strongly rooted in the indigenous traditions of the region. In her short career, she has overcome virulent responses of racism, classism and misogyny that erupted in response to her sudden fame, and above all has used her new platform to tirelessly promote tolerance, respect, and dignity for all peoples.

Yalitza Aparicio / Mexico

Rashida Manjoo / South Africa

Rashida Manjoo is a Professor and convenor of the Human Rights Program in the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is also a Visiting Professor at Queen Mary University, London.

Until July 2015, she held the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, a post she was appointed to in 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council. Her UN work over six years has included monitoring and reporting on States' compliance in responding to and preventing violence against women, its causes and consequences, both generally and in different country contexts. Her research and teaching has focused on the intersectional nature of discrimination, including on the basis of sex, gender, race, class, location, (dis)ability, socio-economic conditions, and historical and cultural contexts. She has particularly highlighted the interaction of interpersonal, communal, institutional and structural factors that negatively impact the interdependence and indivisibility of the human rights of women.

Prof Manjoo is the former Parliamentary Commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality, an institution created by the Constitution of South Africa, with a mandate to oversee the promotion and protection of gender equality and women's rights. She has also been involved in social context training for judges and lawyers, where she has designed both content and methodology.

Prof Manjoo has over four decades of experience in social justice and human rights work both in South Africa and abroad. Her research interests include human rights broadly with a particular focus on women’s human rights. She has authored a number of journal articles, book chapters and reports on women’s human rights, violence against women, transitional justice, and state responsibility to act with due diligence in the quest to promote and protect the human rights of women. Her book publications include 'Women's Charters and Declarations -Building Another World'; 'Due Diligence in Addressing Violence Against Women in Sub-Saharan Africa'; and the recent co-edited book 'The Legal Protection of women from violence - normative gaps in international law'.

Rashida Manjoo / South Africa

Micah Spangler / USA

As the UN Foundation's Director of Advocacy and Humanitarian Affairs, Micah engages with the U.S. Congress, the administration, NGOs, businesses, and grassroots advocates to build support for a strong U.S.-UN partnership across an array of humanitarian, refugee, migration, development, and peace and security issues.

In addition to his advocacy work in Washington and New York, Micah has extensive field experience, helping organize and lead independent fact-finding missions to observe UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Jordan, Bangladesh, and more.

Micah joined the UN Foundation in early 2013 after serving as a Field Director on Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. During the course of the campaign, Micah built relationships with grassroots organizations and partnered with party and state officials to synchronize voter outreach operations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Florida. Prior to Romney for President, Micah worked as a Government Relations Manager for a DC-based non-profit management firm for four years and served on various congressional campaigns throughout the Midwest, including Kinzinger for Congress 2010.

Micah graduated magna cum laude from Johns Hopkins University with an M.A. in government, received an honors B.A. in political science and philosophy from Roosevelt University, and studied Mandarin Chinese at National Taiwan University. His writing has appeared in CNN, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, The Mail and Guardian, The National Interest, Defense One, Roll Call, The Hill, and more. He lives with his wife Jill Nguyen in Washington, DC.

Micah Spangler / USA

Christine Schuler Deschryver / DR Congo

The Democratic Republic Of Congo has been named the rape capital of the world, and yet people like Christine Schuler Deschuryver have not lost hope in it, creating a transformational leadership community of women who have survived violence. Describing Buvaku as her home, Christine Schuler Deschuryver is a Congolese Activist who has dedicated her life to run and direct a community called City of Joy in Congo. She is an avid advocate for Congolese Women's rights.

Prior to her work in Congo, Christine has worked as a teacher and an administrator for CARE in Canada and the German Technical Cooperation for 13 years. That has given her enough experience to work as the Director of V-Day's work on the ground in the DRC, including the City of Joy and coordinating campaign activities on the local, provincial and national level. Under her leadership, City of Joy has graduated 1,204 women from its program and they do not plan to stop there. She works closely with the creator of V-day Eve Ensler and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dr. Denise Mukwege to bring solutions to challenges faced by Congolese women. She is revolutionizing the community of Bukavu one woman at a time!

Christine Schuler Deschryver / DR Congo