The U.N. women’s agency launched a campaign Monday to bring a young generation of women and men into the campaign for gender equality ahead of next year’s 25th anniversary of the conference that adopted the only international platform to achieve women’s rights and empowerment.
UN Women announced its new “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” at a news conference where it also made public events planned to mark adoption of the 150-page platform for action to achieve gender equality by 189 governments at the 1995 Beijing women’s conference.
“Today, nearly 25 years after the historic Beijing conference, the reality is that not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality,” said a statement from UN Women’s executive director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Despite some progress, real change has been too slow for most women and girls in the world, and we see significant pushback in many places.”
“Women continue to be discriminated against and their contributions undervalued,” she added. “They work more, earn less and have fewer choices about their bodies, livelihoods and futures than men – and they experience multiple forms of violence at home, at work and in public spaces.”
Mlambo-Ngcuka said the General Equality campaign is aimed at speeding systematic change “on the laws, policies and outdated mindsets that must no longer curtail women’s voice, choice and safety.”
UN Women’s deputy executive director, Asa Regner, said at the news conference that there have been positive results since Beijing. She pointed to a record number of girls in school, better access to health care, a decrease in maternal mortality, more women in top positions in the business world and fresh efforts to address violence against women and to put women at peace negotiating tables. But she said the biggest challenges are to change male-dominated “power structures” that leave far more women and girls facing poverty and violence.