At the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women, Hilary Clinton declared that “women’s rights are human rights” and the Beijing Platform for Action laid a powerful and necessary foundation stone for our fight for gender equality.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently noted: “It’s no secret that, in 2020, the Beijing Declaration would have no chance of being adopted”.
In 2020, 25 years later, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins delivered the opening address to the Beijing Platform for Action at 25 conference. Her full speech is available here. She reported that the Beijing documents remain largely aspirational; progress has been slow and some of that progress is under threat. She stressed the need to accelerate our efforts, and be increasingly strategic, if we want to finish the job.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on throughout the world, countries everywhere are thinking about how to rebuild. The evidence is clear that, if our recovery efforts focus on creating more equal and diverse societies, women, girls and societies as a whole will benefit enormously. 25 years on from Beijing, with many of the economic and social structures we took for granted a year ago now in flux, this is a golden opportunity to reaffirm the spirit of the Beijing documents, and use everything we have learned in the past 25 years to take swift, meaningful leaps forward towards gender equality.