Beijing 1995 Conference was the last global women’s consultation ever organised. Back then, as a defining framework for change, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern. Twenty years later it remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration.
The Platform imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.
With no doubt, the Beijing process unleashed remarkable political will and worldwide visibility. Since then, governments and the civil society have been trying to turn the Platform’s promises into concrete changes in individual countries.
The 20th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing conference next year opens new opportunities to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political will and mobilise the public. A new international women’s conference is scheduled to take place at the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015 to review the progress made and the obstacles faced in these 20 years, in line with the implementation of the 1995 Declaration.
As a lead up to next year’s review, UN Women launched a yearlong campaign to mobilize governments and people to join the movement for gender equality. Dr. Ranjana Kumari, CSR Director, declared: “The coincidence of the review and the development of a new global framework is being termed as a once in a generation opportunity to position gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment at the centre of the global agenda”.
What is on schedule before Bejing+20 in 2015?
- India CSO National consultation in Delhi (Aug 2014)
- Indian Youth involvement (Nov 2014)
- Regional Beijing+20 review in Bangkok (Nov 2014)
- Second National consultation in Delhi (Jan 2015)
- New York Review (March 2015)
India CSO National Consultation in Delhi (Aug 2014)
Supported by UN Women and led by Bejing+20 Civil Society Working group in India, the Beijing+20 National Consultation gathered together India’s vibrant civil society to develop concrete strategies to accelerate growth and progress in women’s lives. The CSR played an active role in the promotion of the national consultation, which took place in August 2014 in Delhi. The conference focused on the existing dichotomy in decision-making power in public and private institutions and aimed at seeking accountability for implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
The results of the strategies developed at the Consultation will contribute to the regional Beijing+20 review process in November 2014 in Bangkok, and then feed into the global dialogue to be held during the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2015.
Involving Youth in India
The national consultation will be implemented by the CSR parallel to a youth promotion campaign. The program, which will be run by CSR in 10 universities across India, will involve India’s youth in the analysis and assessment of the progress that has been made in the area of women empowerment since 1995 and will sensitize and mobilize the next generation of leaders to step forward and contribute to the empowerment of women.
Students will be actively involved in the discourse around gender equality and are invited to participate to exciting activities such as Beijing+20 debates, street plays, photography competitions etc. which will allow them to approach gender equality from different perspectives.
CSR highly values youth involvement in the Beijing+20 Forum:
- Attendance of young members of society would deepen young generations’ understanding of the evolution of the women’s movement in India.
- Participation would help disseminating the learning of global forums such as the Bejing+20 and would link up the UN Women global discourse on gender equality with grass root level participation.
- It will also encourage young people to operationalise the knowledge gathered and create a world with no gender inequities.
UNESCO Bangkok Conference (Nov 2014)
The Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, organised by UNESCAP in Bangkok (Thailand) is scheduled to take place in November 2014 as part of the Bejing+20 regional review process, which will further feed into the global review. The learning from this conference, which is being held in November 2014, will help the Indian government and the civil society in their preparation for the March 2015 review.
Delhi National Consultation (Jan 2015)
The Centre for Social Research proposes a National Consultation on Protection of Women from Violence, with the objective to share and review the evolution of approaches to violence against women in India since the 1995 UN Conference in Beijing. The consultation will facilitate the evaluation of the nation’s achievements and challenges in fighting violence against women. The program, which is proposed to be held in January 2015 in Delhi, will review changes in violence legislation in India, best practices in civil society response to violence, as well as research on the nature and response to violence within each state.
New York Review (Jan 2015)
The Beijing+20 Global Review at the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, New York will be attended by representatives of Member States, UN entities, and non-governmental organizations from all around the world. The Commission will undertake a review of the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 20 years after its adoption. It will also highlight future actions and initiatives, while addressing the challenges that currently impede the successful implementation of the Platform.
The Beijing Declaration has undoubtedly played a significant role in the progress made in India. The Review scheduled for next year represents a unique opportunity for India to make significant advancements in the movement towards achieving zero tolerance for violence against women, and the CSR is excited to take part to this historical event.