Celebrating women’s rights achievements and identifying gaps to progress: Beijing + 25 review

In 1995, thousands of women’s rights activists, policymakers, civil society actors and UN representatives convened for the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women where world leaders adopted a clear blueprint for achieving gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). More recently in 2015, governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, committing them to realise gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2030. Yet, today there is still much unfinished business in achieving women’s rights: in no country do women enjoy the same rights as men. Advances in women’s rights are at threat from rising fundamentalisms, financial crisis, political turmoil and backlash against feminism, and the power dynamics that drive inequality between women and men remain in force at all levels.

2020 is clearly a critical year for women’s rights. To mark 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action and 5 years since the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, progress and actions needed on women’s rights at a national, regional and global level will be reviewed in a series of forums throughout 2019 and 2020, cumulating at the next Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) in March 2020. This is therefore a critical time for women’s rights and women’s rights organisations, activists and movements have a crucial role in the process.

National reviews

Early 2019, UN Member States were called upon to undertake comprehensive national reviews involving wide consultations with different stakeholders especially women’s rights organisations. The reviews include an assessment of the progress made and the challenges encountered in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and how this affects gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and its contribution towards the full realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals especially through a gender perspective.

The reports cover trends, achievements and remaining gaps and challenges as well as future plans to accelerate implementation at the national level.

To date 138 Member States have submitted national reports. You can access these here.

How to engage:

  • Review government review reports.
  • Collaborate with other women’s rights organisations to write a parallel report to highlight civil society and feminist perspectives that your government report might have overlooked.

Regional Reviews

Preparations are now underway to develop regional synthesis reports and conduct regional intergovernmental meetings. These meetings will take place in all the regions around in October and November. To coincide with the regional review meetings, preparatory multi-stakeholder meetings will take place to ensure engagement of civil society in the regional discussions. Civil society and women’s rights organisations developing regional parallel reports should aim to have these ready to present at the regional reviews. These multi-stakeholder consultations will support and inform the Beijing+25 regional reviews, CSW 64, and the Generation Equality Forum.

The dates of the multi-stakeholder consultations that are relevant to Womankind partners are:

Africa:

- Multi-stakeholder consultation led by women’s rights organisations: 27-28 October 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (FEMNET is coordinating this consultation in partnership with UN Women, UNECA and AU)

- Experts meeting: 29-30 October 2019

- Intergovernmental meeting: 31 October- 1 November 2019

Asia Pacific:

- Multi-stakeholder consultation: 24-26 November 2019, Bangkok, Thailand (ESCAP) (venues: Nouvo City Hotel -24 November 2019; United Nations Conference Centre – 25 & 26 November 2019)

- Intergovernmental meeting: 27-29 November 2019, Bangkok, Thailand (venue: United Nations Conference Centre)

How to engage:

Reach out to regional women’s rights organisations in your region and request information about the regional reviews. Reach out to Womankind to be put in touch with the Womankind partner working on this in your country.
- Find out if the regional WROs are compiling a regional parallel report and offer to provide inputs into it.
- Seek invitation and participate in regional review meetings.
- Can’t attend the reviews? You don’t have to miss out. There are many ways to participate in the process:
- Join the conversation via social media.
- Hold public events on the BPfA and CEDAW in the community, e.g. in schools.
- Share real life stories about why these issues matter.

Developing a parallel report?

Consult the NGO Guidance for National Parallel Reports
- Beyond the opportunities to share your report at various UN and government meetings, share your report widely. Email your report to UN Women (cso.beijing25@unwomen.org), the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY), and Womankind. Share your messages and findings on social media.
- Use to develop collective strategies for action on BPfA and CEDAW.

Global reviews (2020)

64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64): 9-20 March 2020, New York, USA

- National reports and regional synthesis reports will feed into the global synthesis report that UN Women will submit to CSW64 to be held in March 2020. It is anticipated that the outcome document for CSW64 will be a negotiated political declaration. At CSW64, NGOS can make written and oral statements, participate in side events, join regional and issues caucuses.
- Womankind will also develop a global parallel report, focusing on the progress and challenges remaining across our thematic areas and drawing on experiences of working with partners in our focus countries.

How to engage 

- Find out who will be on your government’s delegation to CSW64 and influence them on their position.

- Request to be on a government delegation.

- Plan to participate in CSW64.

- Input in Womankind’s global parallel report.

- Can’t attend the reviews? You don’t have to miss out. There are many ways to participate in the process:

- Join the conversation via social media.

- Hold public events on the BPfA and CEDAW in the community, e.g. in schools.

- Share real life stories about why these issues matter.

- Contribute to online books: “My Memories and Messages for the Next Generation” (Book I) will be written by participants of the Fourth World Conference on Women. Young women in the arts will express their issues, dreams and hopes through their own stories and media in Book II, “My Issues, Hopes and Dreams.” For more information email: beijing25book@gmail.com.

- Find out who will be on your government’s delegation to CSW64 and influence them on their position.

- Request to be on a government delegation.

- Plan to participate in CSW64.

Generation Equality Forums

7-8 May 2020, Mexico City, Mexico and 7-10 July 2020, Paris, France

Following CSW64, civil society and women’s rights organisations will have more opportunities to influence the Beijing+25 process in the Generation Equality Forum. Convened by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, with the leadership and partnership of civil society, the forum aims to infuse new energy into the feminist and women’s movements across the world and mobilise young leaders. The forum will kick off in Mexico on 7-8 May 2020 and culminate in Paris on 7-10 July 2020.

How to engage: 

- Endorse the Women Radically Transforming a World in Crisis framework.
- Follow updates and find out more information.
- Plan to participate.

High Level Political Forum

In June 2020, the High Level Political Forum will do a 5-year review of the 2030 sustainable development agenda. The 17 sustainable development goals include Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. This is another important space to ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed into development and peace agendas.

High-level meeting of the General Assembly on Beijing+25

UN General Assembly: September 2020, New York, USA

In September 2020, the General Assembly will convene a one-day high-level meeting to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and accelerate the realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

More information

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Beijing+5 Political Declaration and Outcome

Fourth World Conference on Women (1995, Beijing)

- UN Women Beijing+25 (2020) information

NGO CSW/NY NGO participation information

FEMNET Beijing+25 Africa information

Feminist Framework of the Asia Pacific NGO Caucus on Beijing+25

Women Radically Transforming a World in Crisis: A framework for Beijing+25 shaped at a strategy meeting of feminist activists Mexico City, 22-24 August 2019

Asia Pacific NGO Caucus on Beijing + 25 webinar