What is the Beijing Platform for Action?
The Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) is the outcome document of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 that drew together 17,000 participants, including 6000 governmental representatives of UN member states, 4000 accredited NGO delegates, international civil servants, and the media. A parallel NGO Forum in nearby Huairou included over 30,000 women from around the world who followed the proceedings. Together they produced a comprehensive document that UN Women has called “the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights.” Advocates from women’s organizations pressed leaders for
specific commitments on women’s equality in 12 areas of concern. The blueprint diagnoses the problem and sets out strategic objectives and concrete actions for each area.
What are the 12 Areas of Concern?
- Women and poverty
- Education and training of women
- Women and health
- Violence against women
- Women and armed conflict
- Women and the economy
Women in power and decision-making
- Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
- Human rights of women
- Women and the media
- Women and the environment
- The girl-child
At the Beijing +25 milestone, has there been any progress?
In the 25 years since the adoption of the BPfA, there has been significant progress in most countries on access to education for women and girls. There is more awareness about the need to combat all forms of violence against women. More women have reached high positions of decision-making in business as well as government. However, even in regions of the world where studies show that women have made great gains in equity under the law, no country has yet to achieve complete equality for women and girls.
For the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform, UN Women partnered with select UN member states, civil society groups, and youth representatives to organize the Generation Equality Forum. It was designed to assess progress made since the Beijing Conference, highlight gaps in progress, and set new goals and commitments. The Forum met in two sessions in Mexico (March 2021) and France (July 2021) and produced an outcome document, the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality. The Plan’s aim is to energize the global movement for gender equality and provide an action road map going forward.
Submitted by Pam Perraud