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Fourth World Conference on Women

The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace was the name given for a conference convened by the United Nations during 4–15 September 1995 in Beijing, China.[1]

Contents

  • Background 1
    • International Women's Year, Mexico City, 1975 1.1
    • Second World Conference on Women, Copenhagen, 1980 1.2
    • Third World Conference on Women, Nairobi, 1985 1.3
    • Preceding the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995 1.4
  • Keynote address 2
  • Other speeches 3
  • Outcomes 4
    • Beijing Declaration 4.1
    • Beijing Platform for Action 4.2
      • Mission statement 4.2.1
      • Critical areas of concern 4.2.2
      • Strategic objectives and actions 4.2.3
    • Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women 4.3
  • Commemoration 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Background

UN charter logo.
UN charter logo.

The founding United Nations charter (1945) included a provision for equality between men and women (chapter III, article 8). Subsequently, from 1945 to 1975 various female officials within the United Nations and leaders of women's movements on the global stage attempted to turn these principles into action. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution (resolution 3010) that 1975 should be International Women's Year. In December 1975, the UN General Assembly passed a further resolution (resolution 31/136) that 1976-1985 should be the "Decade of Women".[2]

International Women's Year, Mexico City, 1975

The first world conference on women was held in Mexico City in 1975.[1] It resulted in the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace.[3]

Second World Conference on Women, Copenhagen, 1980

The second world conference on women was held in Copenhagen in 1980.[1] The conference agreed that the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was an important milestone. The Copenhagen conference also acknowledged the gap between rights being secured for women and women's ability to exercise those rights. It was also agreed that it was action on the three areas of: equal access to education; employment opportunities; and adequate health care services are essential to achieve the goals set out in Mexico.[4]

Third World Conference on Women, Nairobi, 1985

The third world conference on women was held in Nairobi in 1985.[1] The Nairobi conference set out areas by which progress in women's equality could be measured: constitutional and legal measures; equality in social participation; equality in political participation; and decision-making. The conference also acknowledged that women need to participate in all areas of human activity, not just those areas that relate to gender.[5]

Preceding the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995

Delegates had prepared a Declaration and Platform for Action aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women.

In fallout from pre-conference meetings, the Holy See publicly disagreed with positions outlined by the United States and other nations concerning abortion, reproductive rights, and other sensitive issues.[6]

Keynote address

[7]

Other speeches

Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the time the First Lady of the United States, gave the speech Women's Rights Are Human Rights at the conference on September 5, 1995.[8] That speech is considered to be influential in the women's rights movement, and in 2013 Clinton led a review of how women's rights have changed since her 1995 speech.[9] The 1995 speech was listed as #35 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).[10]

Many other speeches were also given at the conference, on behalf of governments, the United Nations and inter-governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations.[11][12][13][14]

Outcomes

Beijing Declaration

Beijing Platform for Action

A summary of the Beijing Platform for Action[15] is given below:

Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women

A major result of the conference was the Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women, signed at the NGO Forum in the Indigenous Women's Tent.[17] This document seeks, in part, to reconcile the tension felt by Aboriginal women activists between (primarily white) feminism and Aboriginal movements dominated by men.[18] It was a significant step forward towards Indigenous women's rights and a significant victory for Indigenous feminism practice.

The 50-point declaration provides rationale and a clear call to action for governments navigating Aboriginal issues across the globe. The demands in the document are "that all governments and international non-governmental and governmental organizations recognize the right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination, and enshrine the historical, political, social, cultural, economic, and religious rights of the Indigenous peoples in their constitutions and legal systems."[17] From that premise, the declaration goes on to specify areas for action including self-determination; development, education and health; human rights violations and violence against Indigenous women; intellectual and cultural heritage; and political participation.

The document addresses the unique problems Aboriginal women suffer in addition to those suffered by Aboriginal men, which include erosion of culture (and gender roles therein), loss of traditional land, and compromised identity and status in the spaces they inhabit.[19]

As its bases, the declaration cites the "UN Declaration of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous peoples, the Draft Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous peoples, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, and the Copenhagen Social Summit Declaration."[20]

Commemoration

In 2014 UN Women began its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women with the Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It! campaign, also called the Beijing+20 campaign.[21][22]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "The Fourth United Nation's Conference on Women in Beijing 1995". Women's National Commission (UK). Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  2. ^ O'Barr, Jean F. (1997), "United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China (1995) - "Global Framework" of the Platform for Action", in DeLamotte, Eugenia; Meeker, Natania; O'Barr, Jean F., Women imagine change: a global anthology of women's resistance from 600 B.C.E. to present, New York: Routledge, pp. 502–510,  
  3. ^ "World Conference of the International Women's Year". United Nations. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "1980 World Conference on Women". 5th Women's World Conference. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "1985 World Conference on Women". 5th Women's World Conference. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Tagliabue, John (26 August 1995). "Vatican Attacks U.S.-Backed Draft for Women's Conference".  
  7. ^ "nobelprize.org". Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Fester, Gertrude (1994). "Women's Rights Are Human Rights". Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 20: 76–79. 
  9. ^ Rucker, Philip (September 25, 2013). "Hillary Clinton to lead review of progress for women since 1995 Beijing conference".  
  10. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller (2009-02-13). "Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century by Rank". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  11. ^ "Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995". Un.org. 2003-12-31. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  12. ^ "Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995 [Governments]". Un.org. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  13. ^ "Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995 [The United Nations and inter-governmental organizations]". Un.org. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  14. ^ "Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995 [NGOs]". Un.org. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  15. ^ "Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China - September 1995 Action for Equality, Development and Peace - Platform for Action". United Nations. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Annex IV". United Nations. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women". Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism. 
  18. ^ Green, Joyce (2007). "Balancing Strategies: Aboriginal Women and Constitutional Rights in Canada". Making Space for Indigenous Feminism. 
  19. ^ Sayers, Judith F.; Kelly A. MacDonald (2001). "A Strong and Meaningful Role for First Nations Women in Governance". First Nations Women, Governance and the Indian Act: A Collection of Policy Research Reports: 11. 
  20. ^ "Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women". Third World Network. 
  21. ^ "Gloria Steinem Helps UN Women Unveil Beijing+20 Campaign". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  22. ^ [2]

External links

  • Official website
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