The United Nations entity tasked with promoting gender equality today launched a major campaign kicking off a year-long, worldwide commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Through a year of activities, UN Women says it aims to mobilize governments and citizens alike to picture a world where gender equality is a reality and to join a global conversation on empowering women to empower humanity.
Events will focus on achievements and gaps in gender equality and women’s empowerment since 189 Governments adopted the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is meant to pave the way for women’s full and equal participation in all spheres of life and decision-making.
“The Beijing Platform for Action is an unfulfilled promise to women and girls,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “Our goal is straightforward: renewed commitment, strengthened action and increased resources to realize gender equality, women’s empowerment and the human rights of women and girls.”
The Beijing Women’s Conference drew an unprecedented 17,000 participants while 30,000 representatives attended the NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] Forum. In 2015, the UN will assess progress on implementation of the Beijing action plan over the past 20 years, based on national reports currently being prepared by UN Member States.
The campaign will kick off with an all-day globe-spanning Tweetathon. Participating groups will include the UN, Lean In, the World YWCA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Half the Sky, the European Women’s Lobby, the Women’s Media Centre, Devex and other regional and national experts.
UN Women will unveil a global global information hub diverse voices, testimonies of personal experiences and achievement, celebrity champions and a calendar to track Beijing+20 events. The HeforShe web platform will spotlight prominent men standing up to end violence against women and advance equality. UN Women will support engagement through its network of country offices and release an interactive Facebook app, “Close the Gap”.
The formal commemoration of the 20th anniversary will take place during the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and International Women’s Day 2015 will be dedicated to Beijing+20. A high-level commitment meeting is expected in September 2015.
In its announcement of the upcoming campaign, UN Women says that during the past two decades, much progress has been made in women’s legal rights, educational achievements, and participation in public life.
It also stresses that much still remains to be done to address gender wage gaps and unequal opportunities, low representation of women in leadership in public office and the private sector, child marriage, rampant violence and other violations against women and girls.
“Today I call on everyone to be part of the solution,” said Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Picture It! Together we can realize the promise of Beijing: equality between women and men.”