In an effort to increase gender equality in China, at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was created. The platform sought, and still seeks to enact serious change to 12 areas of daily life. According to U.N. Women, the commitment to change spans the following 12 categories:
1. Women and the Environment
2. Women in Power and Decision-Making
3. The Girl Child
4. Women and the Economy
5. Women and Poverty
6. Violence Against Women
7. Human Rights of Women
8. Education and Training of Women
9. Institutional Mechanisms of the Advancement of Women
10. Women and Health
11. Women and the Media
12. Media and Armed Conflict”
Since the conference and the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, there have been major steps toward the advancement of women’s rights. Laws protecting gender-based violence, in general, have become stricter and more women are now serving as political officials.
As the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is coming up on its 20th anniversary, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women is taking a closer look at how some of these changes are being implemented and working to enhance efforts where commitment appears to be lacking.
U.N. Women has discovered that “while today, equal number of boys and girls are receiving primary education in most of the world, few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.” Moreover, the Millennium Development Goals Report found that worldwide, 126 million children and 781 million adults do not have basic reading and writing skills. Women make up over 60 percent of each statistic, indicating a problem in education distribution between the sexes and the need for greater dedication to the problems surrounding “the girl child.”
At this 20 year mark, in order to promote women’s rights in Beijing, it is crucial to reexamine the declaration and reignite the fire that sparked the dedication to enhancing women’s rights.
– Jordyn Horowitz