History, traditions
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Beijing Declaration, Women's Rights

The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Considered the most comprehensive blueprint on advancing women's rights, the 1995 Beijing roadmap was adopted by 189 governments. But 20 years on, the commitments made are only partially fulfilled. 

From 9-20 March, the 59th Commission on the Status of Women will review global implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and take stock of where women stand in the world today. From the political to the economic spheres, progress has been made, but not enough. 

Today, only one in five parliamentarians is a woman. Approximately 50 per cent of women worldwide are in paid employment, an increase from 40 per cent more than 20 years ago, with wage inequality persistent. At the present rate of progress, it will take 81 years for women to achieve parity in employment. The pandemic of violence against women and girls affects one in three women worldwide, despite being recognized as a gross human rights violation and a barrier to global development. In 2000, the groundbreaking UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security recognized the need to increase women's role in peacebuilding in post-conflict countries. Yet, from 1992 to 2011 only 4 per cent of signatories to peace agreements and 9 per cent of negotiators at peace tables were women. 

Preparations for the upcoming meeting have been significant. UN Women launched a global campaign "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It" last year, to reignite the gender equality debate through global events and engagement. In the lead-up to the Commission, a record-breaking 166 countries undertook national reviews regarding the status of women in their countries. Rich contributions have also come in through consultations with civil society, who remain an integral part of this process. Setting a new record, more than 1,100 NGOs and a total of 8,600 representatives have registered to participate in this year's session. About 200 side-events hosted by governments and UN agencies are planned alongside the official meetings of the Commission, with an additional 450 parallel events by civil society. 

With the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform coinciding with the defining of the post-2015 development agenda, expectations are high that it will generate momentum and urgency for global actions on women's rights and gender equality. A political declaration will be adopted by the Commission on the opening day of session. 

HIGHLIGHTS FOR MEDIA: 

  • Press Conference, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, 6 March, 11 a.m. Room S-0237, UN Secretariat [Live webcast: ]
     
  • UN Observance of International Women's Day 2015, 6 March, 9-10 a.m., Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Secretariat. [Live webcast:www.unwomen.org]. This event will be held as part of the High-level Thematic Debate on "Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda", hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly. With the theme of "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It", the IWD event will see high-level participation including, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the UN General Assembly; Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; and other dignitaries.
     
  • International Women's Day March-- Step it Up for Gender Equality and Women's Rights, 8 March, 2.30-5 p.m., New York City. The event is co-hosted by UN Women and the City of New York, with the UN Women for Peace Association, NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY), Man Up and The Working Group on Girls NGO. For more information, see ourflyer
     
  • Annual Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event titled "Unlimited Potential: Business Partners for Gender Equality", hosted by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, 10 March, 1.30- 5.30 p.m., ECOSOC Chambers, UN Secretariat. Speakers include Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; Hillary Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State; Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; private sector business leaders, and others. Media outlets need to register atwepsmedia@unglobalcompact.org to attend the event, along with getting UN media accreditation. Programme at: http://weprinciples.org/Site/Programme 
     
  • Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality, a large-scale Beijing+20 celebratory event with musical performances, high-powered speakers and celebrities, 10 March, 7.30-10.30 p.m., Manhattan Centre, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th St., New York City. 

For press covering the International Women's Day event or any official CSW59 events at the UN Secretariat in New York, UN press accreditation is required. More information at: http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/index.shtml

Media Opportunities: Women's rights advocates and experts are available for interviews. List below, please contact media officers listed. 

Related links:

Events at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 9 - 20 March 2015

Official meetings of the Commission are listed here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw59-2015/official-meetings 
Live webcasts: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/csw/webcasts

Key Official Sessions:

  • Opening of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 9 March, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m., UN General Assembly [Live webcast] 
  • Ministerial Round Tables, 10 March, Round tables on 'Making the economy work for women and girls' and 'Investing in gender equality and the empowerment of women' 10-11.30 a.m. and 11.30- 1 p.m., Conference Room 4; and Round tables on 'Transforming politics and public life to achieve gender equality' and 'Accountability for realizing de facto equality for women and girls', 10-11.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.-1 p.m., Conference Room 1
  • Round table with ministerial participation on results of regional Beijing+20 events of the UN regional commissions, 12 March, 3-6 p.m., Conference Room 4. UN Women Executive Director to moderate the panel. 

All the above will also be webcast live at: http://webtv.un.org/

UN Women organized/co-sponsored events:

  • Promoting gender equality in nationality laws, organized by UNHCR and OHCHR, with Missions of Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Senegal, Tunisia and the United States of America, 10 March, 11 a.m.-12.45 p.m., Conference Room E 
  • Towards a Continental Results Framework on Women, Peace and Security in Africa, organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the Permanent Mission of the African Union, 10 March, 1.15-2.30 p.m., Conference Room 11
  • Annual Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event, titled "Unlimited Potential: Business Partners for Gender Equality", hosted by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, 10 March, 1.30- 5.30 p.m., ECOSOC Chambers, UN Secretariat; 11 March, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Wyndham New Yorker Hotel (481 8th Avenue, New York). Media need to register at wepsmedia@unglobalcompact.org, to attend the event, along with getting UN media accreditation. Programme at:http://weprinciples.org/Site/FeaturedSpeakers This event will be livestreamed.
  • Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality, a large-scale Beijing+20 celebratory event with musical performances, high-powered speakers and celebrities, 10 March, 7.30- 10.30 p.m., Manhattan Centre Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, New York City
  • Implementing the Beijing Platform for Action especially in the post-2015 context: A UN system response, organized by UN Women, 11 March, 8.15-9.45 a.m., Millennium Hotel. By invitation only.
  • Parliaments for Gender Equality: Priorities for Beijing+20 and beyond, full-day parliamentary event, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women. Speakers include Ellen Chesler and Nicole Ameline (both CEDAW members), Rosaline Smith, MP from Sierra Leone, and others, 11 March, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., ECOSOC Chamber 
  • New action on women's rights - shared responsibilities, organized by the Nordisk Forum, Swedish Women's Lobby, and co-sponsored by UN Women, 11 March, 10-11.15 a.m., Conference Room 11 
  • Prevention to Response: Addressing the continuum of violence against women and girls, organized by UN Women, 11 March, 1.15-2.30 p.m., Conference Room 1 [Live  webcast]
  • Gender and Local Economic Development: Unlocking domestic capital for women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, organized by UNCDF, UNDP and UN Women, with the Missions of Sweden and Luxembourg, 11 March, 3-4.45 p.m., Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
  • Women and the Media, Advancing Critical Area of Concern J of the Beijing Platform for Action, organized by UN Women and UNESCO. Speakers include Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, and other leaders, 12 March at 10-11.15 a.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live  Webcast]
  • Voices against Violence: Addressing the root causes of violence against girls and women through non-formal education, organized by the Permanent Mission of Denmark, Zonta International,  World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and co-sponsored by UN Women, 12 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live  webcast]
  • Arts and advocacy campaign to end sex discriminatory laws, organized by Equality Now and UN Women, 12 March, 1.15-2.30 p.m., Conference Room 1. Introduction by Jane Fonda. Opening remarks by UN Women Executive Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Equality Now Global Executive Director Yasmeen Hassan, and artistic performance by Sarah Jones. [Live  webcast]
  • Intergenerational dialogue: The issues at stake and strategies for action, organized by UN Women, 13 March, 9.30-6 p.m., ECOSOC Chamber [Live  Webcast]
  • Women, the environment and climate change in the Pacific, organized by Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, 13 March, 6.30 -7:30 p.m., Conference Room 12
  • Ebola Virus Disease: Sierra Leone & Liberia experiences (emerging lessons, getting to zero and beyond), co-sponsored by UN Women, 16 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., Conference Room E 
  • Looking into the future: The place of sport for women's empowerment post-2015, organized by UN Women and International Olympic Committee. Speakers include Sania Mirza, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and tennis star, Lydia Nsekera, Chair of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, and other leaders, 16 March, 10-11.15 a.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live  Webcast]
  • The Right to Development: The centrality of women's human rights, organized by Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) with Missions of  Fiji, Uruguay, and co-sponsored by UN Women, 17 March, 11 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., Conference Room 11
  • Beijing+20: Assessing implementation in Africa and the way forward,organized by ACORD and UN Women, 17 March, 3-4.15 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live  Webcast]
  • Status of Women in the UN System, organized by UN Women, 17 March, 1.15-2.30 p.m., Conference Room 11. [Live  Webcast]

[Entire list of official side events: http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw59-2015/side-events/calendar-of-side-events; NGO-organized parallel events:http://www.ngocsw.org/]

UN Women senior officials will speak at the following events:

  • Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), on 9 March, organized by UN Women with Mission of Latvia, 4.45-6 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium
  • From Commitment to Action: Financing gender equality in the post-2015 agenda, 10 March, 3-4.15 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium
  • Unlocking multiple benefits for women and girls through sanitation and hygiene in the post-2015 era, organized by Missions of Singapore and Senegal, co-sponsored by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and UN Women, 13 March, 1.15-2.30 p.m., Conference Room 9
  • Beijing+20: The voices of indigenous women, organized by International Indigenous Women's Forum, 13 March, 6.30-7.30 p.m., Conference Room 12
  • Launch of the Fund for Gender Equality's 3rd Call for proposals, organized by UN Women, 17 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium