The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995 was the largest conference the United Nations had ever organized. Some 189 governments, including government delegates, representatives of NGOs, journalists and all the United Nations organizations attended the Conference. The 189 UN Member states adopted unanimously the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) to ensure the improvement of human rights of all women and girls without any exceptions. The BPFA specified 12 areas of concern: poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, empowerment and decision-making, institutional mechanism for advancement, human rights, media environment and the specific needs of the girl-child.
At the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Hillary Rodham Clinton noted that “Human Rights are Women’s Rights and Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” Why is it that we’ve yet to achieve recognition of this fact? Whether it’s the horrific statistic that 1 out of every 3 women will be victims of violence at some point in her life, or that women are more prone to poverty and the associated problems of hunger, health issues and adequate shelter, or the question of whether or not women can achieve their full potential to contribute to society and the well-being of their families—it is obvious that we have a long way to go to achieving gender equality.
In 2020 “we the peoples” will be marking the 25th year since the 1995 Beijing Conference and the 5th year of adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NGO CSW/NY encourages all participants of the NGO CSW62 Forum to start the dialogue of how we will mark Beijing +25 and SDGs +5—NOW! What is it that we expect of governments, UN Agencies, private sector and ourselves in achieving full implementation of the promise of the BFPA?