UN Women head urges world to reaffirm promises made to women in 1995 | News Ghana
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Friday urged the international community to reaffirm the promises the world made to women 25 years ago.
“This is a re-set moment. On this important anniversary, let us reaffirm the promises the world made to women in 1995. Let us draw on the activist spirit of the Beijing Conference and commit to forging new alliances across generations and sectors to ensure we seize this opportunity for deep, systemic change for women and for the world,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a press release.
Twenty-five years ago, on Sept. 4, the Fourth World Conference on Women in China’s Beijing “set a path-breaking agenda” for women’s rights. As a result of the two-week gathering with more than 30,000 activists, representatives from 189 nations unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
“This historic blueprint articulated a vision of equal rights, freedom and opportunities for women — everywhere, no matter what their circumstances are — that continues to shape gender equality and women’s movements worldwide,” said the press release.
The Beijing Platform for Action imagined a world where every woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for work of equal value. “As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern,” it added.
Twenty-five years later, “no country has fully delivered on the commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action, nor is close to it,” the press release said.
The press release warned citing the UN Women that “a major stock-taking UN Women report published earlier this year showed that progress towards gender equality is faltering and hard-won advances are being reversed.”
“Women currently hold just one quarter of the seats at the tables of power across the board. Men are still 75 percent of parliamentarians, hold 73 percent of managerial positions, are 70 percent of climate negotiators and almost all of the peacemakers.”
This anniversary is “a wake-up call” and comes at a time when the impact of the gender equality gaps is undeniable, according to the press release.
“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.”
“We are also witnessing increased reports on violence against women throughout the world due to the lockdowns, and women losing their livelihoods faster because they are more exposed to hard-hit economic sectors.”
While much work remains on fulfilling the promises of the Beijing Platform for Action, it continues to be a global framework and a powerful source of mobilization, civil society activism, guidance and inspiration 25 years later, the press release said.
The upcoming UN General Assembly later this month will be “a key opportunity” to bring to the forefront the relevance of the Beijing Declaration and “move the needle on implementation,” with a high-level meeting attended by global leaders on “Accelerating the Realization of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls” on Oct. 1.
“The event will showcase how building equal and inclusive societies is more urgent than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages lives and livelihoods,” the press release said.