DUMUNA

Beijing Declaration of women’s rights

Written by: Kaniz Fatema Prova 
(General Member, DUMUNA)

A visionary agenda for women empowerment, which was adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women, is widely known as The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This agenda is all about women’s empowerment. The commitments which work on women, work for women.

What is “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”?

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA) are the outcome documents more specifically a resolution adopted by the United Nations at the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women which was held in Beijing, China. These documents publicize a set of principles and global commitments on achieving equality, development, and peace for women and girls all over the world. The Platform for Action is an integral document in the global fight for women’s rights. To be more precise, this resolution is one of the most comprehensive global policy frameworks to analyze the situation of women and girls around the world. Also, it will assess the efforts of states in support of women’s empowerment.

The Beijing Declaration committed itself to the spirit of determination, hope, support, and unity to bring into life the human rights of women. In The Beijing conference, there were the approval of 12 major areas of concern and states tactical intrusions to deal with these concerns:

  1. Women and poverty
  2. Education and training of women
  3. Women and health
  4. Violence against women
  5. Women and armed conflict
  6. Women and the economy
  7. Women in power and decision-making
  8. Institutional mechanisms for the development of women
  9. Human rights of women
  10. Women and the media
  11. Women and the environment
  12. The girl-child
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was there in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.
Photo: Maggie Hallahan

Adoption of the announcement of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action:

September 1995 was the result of decades of a global movement regarding the international struggle to achieve equality, development, and peace. In the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, there were official representatives from over 180 countries. They worked in legislative sessions and focused on working groups. They processed the document that would reveal the issues and concerns of the world’s women. Quite a few issues were on top of these discussions. And of course, some Governments were against the act that human rights are universal in nature. But they have to distinguish that regardless of progress, women still suffer difficulties in achieving equality with men. And it is hampered particularly by the poverty suffered by so many women and children. 

But then the Governments acknowledge the diverse voices of women. And the Platform for Action reacts to the communal effort of women and girls around the world who have fought to accomplish gender equality and women’s rights.

The resolution is a consensus document. It is the most inclusive declaration about the issues concerning women and children. It deals with a range of issues from human rights abuses to poverty. It identifies the lack of gender perspective from governmental decision-making to educational systems. 

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remain significant today. It affirms that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefit every person. Even today, these documents remain a powerful source of guidance and encouragement for prospering women’s rights.

September 1995 was the result of decades of a global movement regarding the international struggle to achieve equality, development, and peace. In the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, there were official representatives from over 180 countries. They worked in legislative sessions and focused on working groups. They processed the document that would reveal the issues and concerns of the world’s women. Quite a few issues were on top of these discussions. And of course, some Governments were against the act that human rights are universal in nature. But they have to distinguish that regardless of progress, women still suffer difficulties in achieving equality with men. And it is hampered particularly by the poverty suffered by so many women and children. 

But then the Governments acknowledge the diverse voices of women. And the Platform for Action reacts to the communal effort of women and girls around the world who have fought to accomplish gender equality and women’s rights.

The resolution is a consensus document. It is the most inclusive declaration about the issues concerning women and children. It deals with a range of issues from human rights abuses to poverty. It identifies the lack of gender perspective from governmental decision-making to educational systems. 

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remain significant today. It affirms that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefit every person. Even today, these documents remain a powerful source of guidance and encouragement for prospering women’s rights.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remain significant today. It affirms that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefit every person. Even today, these documents remain a powerful source of guidance and encouragement for prospering women’s rights.

Al Jazeera English

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action proceedings:

The 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995 marked a significant turning point precisely set a path-breaking agenda for women’s rights and gender equality. For the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women, 17,000 participants, 30,000 activist leaders, and representatives of 189 nations creating the largest ever global gathering on women’s and girls’ rights, collectively adopted the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”.

This historic blueprint is an agenda for women’s empowerment. It articulated a vision of equal rights, freedom, and opportunities for women around the world in any circumstances. It continues to shape gender equality and women’s movements worldwide. The government representatives worked for two weeks to create a document of agreed written targets in achieving gender equality. The Beijing conference assembled on political contract accomplishing the three prior global conferences on women. Consequently, a visionary agenda, the prominent “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” was created that summarizes strategic objectives for gender equality and the enhancement of human rights for women and girls. It also signified an essential turning point in international efforts to encourage gender equality.

Implementation of “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”:

To eradicate discrimination against women and girls and accomplish equality in all areas of life, Governments, civil society and other stakeholders have been working since 1995. Inequitable legislation is being removed. Cruelty against women and girls and harmful practices were addressed. There have been significant achievements in girls’ school enrolment, and women’s participation in the labor force. The gender gap in education has closed at the primary school level. For this, the economy is growing in some regions as well. 

Maternal deaths have been significantly reduced. Public health professionals distinguish the value of saving the lives of women and babies. There is increasing access to obstetrical involvements in breech births and other emergencies. Extended access to modern techniques of contraception has allowed women to plan and space pregnancies. 

 Representation of women in national parliaments reached a record 24.9% at the start of 2020 globally. However, women have done better at local levels of decision-making in politics or somewhere else. Noteworthy advancements have been made in the global agenda on women.

 The correlation between the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” and the United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) is considered significant. The SDGs target is to acknowledge global issues like poverty, climate change, and inequality by 2030. The 5th goal of the SDGs is to achieve gender equality. It also includes equal education for girls and combating hostility against women. 

A majority of countries have criminalized brutality against women at home and work. And some countries have also trained police and social welfare professionals and funded shelters. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has approved legal precautions for worldwide domestic workers and for women working in factories that are involved in international trade.

To eradicate discrimination against women and girls and accomplish equality in all areas of life, Governments, civil society and other stakeholders have been working since 1995. Inequitable legislation is being removed. Cruelty against women and girls and harmful practices were addressed. There have been significant achievements in girls’ school enrolment, and women’s participation in the labor force. The gender gap in education has closed at the primary school level. For this, the economy is growing in some regions as well. 

Maternal deaths have been significantly reduced. Public health professionals distinguish the value of saving the lives of women and babies. There is increasing access to obstetrical involvements in breech births and other emergencies. Extended access to modern techniques of contraception has allowed women to plan and space pregnancies. 

 Representation of women in national parliaments reached a record 24.9% at the start of 2020 globally. However, women have done better at local levels of decision-making in politics or somewhere else. Noteworthy advancements have been made in the global agenda on women.

 The correlation between the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” and the United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) is considered significant. The SDGs target is to acknowledge global issues like poverty, climate change, and inequality by 2030. The 5th goal of the SDGs is to achieve gender equality. It also includes equal education for girls and combating hostility against women. 

A majority of countries have criminalized brutality against women at home and work. And some countries have also trained police and social welfare professionals and funded shelters. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has approved legal precautions for worldwide domestic workers and for women working in factories that are involved in international trade.

A majority of countries have criminalized brutality against women at home and work. And some countries have also trained police and social welfare professionals and funded shelters. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has approved legal precautions for worldwide domestic workers and for women working in factories that are involved in international trade.

Barriers to Progress for Women:

Unfortunately, the progress for women’s growth has been unacceptably slow and uneven. Almost 25 years have passed after the approval of the Platform for Action. But not many countries have achieved equality for women and girls at a significant level. There are restrictions for women from many high-paying jobs similar to construction or mining in more than 100 countries. Some countries with large rural residents still deny women the right to own property. Even though, the women perform most of the agricultural work in those countries. Women stay behind the burden of unpaid housework, child care, and elder care in most countries. And they just overlook this responsibility of women let alone appreciate women. There are solid pieces of evidence that show gender-sensitive taxation, expansion of social welfare, and infrastructure investment make a real difference between men and women in many countries.

Now it needs urgent and sustained steps to convert the system. These systemic changes must be insightful and permanent. This involves: 

  • Governments to exhibit strong, unwavering leadership and obligation to develop women’s rights
  • Strengthening responsibility for gender equality 
  • Support national gender equality mechanisms
  • Supporting women’s movements to apply bigger influence in policy decisions
  •  Involvements of men as gender equality promoter 
  • Enhancing investments in gender equality and women’s rights

The “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” visualized a world where every woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices as a human being. Gender equality is a mutual idea of social justice and human rights. We must act according to our humanity to create a peaceful and harmonious world.

Reference:

https://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/about
https://caribbean.unwomen.org/en/news-and-events/stories/2020/9/press-release-25th-anniversary-of-the-beijing-declaration-on-womens-rights
https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/
https://www.icsspe.org/system/files/Beijing%20Declaration%20and%20Platform%20for%20Action.pdf
https://www.unescwa.org/our-work/beijing-declaration-and-platform-action
http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/cw/140975.htm

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