Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It is also one of the reference frameworks to analyse the situation of women around the world and to assess the efforts of States in support of women’s empowerment.
Adopted by consensus in 1995 following the mobilization of over 40,000 government delegates, experts and civil society representatives at the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action embodies the commitment of the international community to achieve gender equality and to provide better opportunities for women and girls.
The platform of action responds to the collective effort of women and girls around the globe who have fought to achieve gender equality and women’s rights and acts as a continuum of the international community’s commitment to address civil, political, social, economic and cultural inequalities. It remains relevant today, affirming that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefits everyone.
The Platform of Action covers 12 critical areas of concern:
When women are poor, their rights are not protected and they face double discrimination, on account of their gender and economic situation.
Women, their families, communities and economies suffer as a result
Education is essential for women to reach gender equality and become leaders of change.
While women and girls today are far more educated than ever before, gaps remain.
Women need to be healthy in order to realize their full potential.
This includes proper nutrition, sexual and reproductive rights, and mental health, as well as freedom from violence.
Violence hurts women and girls and hampers their ability to thrive in multiple ways.
Wars and armed conflict destroy families and societies and leave women and girls particularly vulnerable.
Sexual violence is widespread and often used as a war tactic.
Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions.
Once in leadership roles, women make a difference.
But they are under-represented as voters and in top positions.
Create or strengthen national machineries and other governmental bodies. Integrate gender perspectives in legislation, public policies, programmes and projects.
Women and girls are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of all of their human rights.
The Beijing Platform for Action confirms that protection and promotion of human rights is the first responsibility of governments and core to the work of the United Nations.
The media plays a significant role in perpetuating and challenging social norms that condone discrimination or violence against women.
It can objectify women but also showcase strong women leaders and protagonists who can become role models for their audience.
Women are among the most affected by climate change. Their voices are often ignored in environmental planning and management.
They also have less access to land and productive resources.
Specific forms of violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and cutting, breast ironing and child marriage, affect girls in particular, including child sexual abuse.
The Platform also sets an agenda for governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to safeguard women’s human rights and to ensure that gender is taken into account in all national, regional and international policies and programmes.
Progress on implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) is reviewed by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) every five years.
In this regard, and since the first review in 2000, the United Nations Regional Commissions, including the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), have been mandated to prepare, in collaboration with regional organizations, regional reports on progress made towards the implementation of the BPFA. These reports are based on national reviews conducted by each of the United Nations member countries, and feed into a global report which is consolidated by the CSW Secretariat at UN Women and presented by the Secretary General to the General Assembly.