25 years after Beijing’s Women Conference, significance ‘undimmed’

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25 years after Beijing’s Women Conference, significance ‘undimmed’

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Looking back on the Fourth World Conference on Women in the Chinese capital, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said in a statement that “we have seen the strength and impact of collective activism grow and have been reminded of the importance of multilateralism and partnership to find common solutions to shared problems.”

Defining framework for change

The deliberations of the Conference back in 1995 resulted in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – an agenda for change across 12 critical areas to realize the human rights of women and girls – whose continued relevance “cannot be overstated today”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The Platform imagined a world in which every woman and girl could exercise her freedoms and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, attend school, participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work.

A quarter of a century later, no country is even close to fully delivering on the commitments of Platform, according to a major stock-taking UN Women report.

Hard-won advances under threat

UN Women said that the anniversary represents “a wake-up call and comes at a time when the impact of the gender equality gaps is undeniable.

“Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and threatening to halt or reverse the gains of decades of collective effort – with just released new data revealing that the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line.”

The far-reaching social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the significant increases in violence against women, “threaten to reverse many of the hard-won advances made in the last 25 years to empower women and girls”, flagged the UN Women chief.

“At the same time”, she maintained “the outstanding value of women’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic is in plain sight, along with the recognition of just how much women’s work and women’s movements have sustained the world, from domestic life, the fight for human rights, to national economies”. 

Click here to read the full article published by UN News on 4 September 2020.

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