Beijing +10: Conference on Women review

Source: Pamabazuka News
This special issue complements the work of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) coalition in advocating the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. June 2009. [see more]
From February 28 to March 11, 2005, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conducted the ten-year review and appraisal of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing + 10) and commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the First UN World Conference on Women held in Mexico in 1975. During 2004, regional meetings were taking place to prepare for this review.

The Objective of the review was to identify achievements, gaps and challenges in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action -signed by 189 governments- and the outcome documents, as well as the Beijing +5 Political Declaration adopted at the five-year review in June 2000. The 49th session of the Commission on the status of Women was a regular session but it had been agreed in the 48th session of the CSW, on March 2004, that it would be a high level event.

The 49th session of the Commission to held in 2005 was more than an expanded session of the regular CSW. Its focus has been different. The work programme for 2005 focused on national-level implementation through interactive dialogue and exchange of good practices. There was about 8 high-level events (panels, roundtables) on a broad range of issues, a high-level opening, the high-level plenary for national statements, and a celebration of international women's day within the CSW itself and not as an interagency event. (See more information on the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women web site).

The review launched with Beijing +10 found itself in the midst of a debate concerning its desirability. Several NGOs expressed concern over the risks of losing the gains achieved under the platforms adopted at the Conferences in the 1990s, and at the same time were raising questions as to both the efficacy of such world conferences in securing the economic, political and social rights of women, and the strategic roles that feminist activists can play at such events. The same dynamics were at play in the five year review processes. Both Cairo +5 and Beijing +5 revealed the risks faced by the current women's agenda.

Input to the process by regional UN commissions and other regional intergovernmental organizations included organizing meetings to elicit regional perspectives on implementation actions and initiatives, and to report the findings. In spite of expressing concern, women’s organizations were discussing how to participate in the sub-regional meetings. According to WEDO “there is a danger that these reviews may lead to negotiations which could leave women once again having to fight for their material and reproductive rights. It is not too late to influence these negotiations at the regional level, and to strategize and act to avoid negotiations at the global level in 2005”.

Beijing 1995

The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995, culminated with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Declaration secured the commitment of governments to work towards implementing -before the end of the 20th century- the strategies agreed on in Nairobi in 1985, and to mobilize resources to achieve the goals set by the platform.

The Beijing Platform for Action is the most thorough document ever produced by a United Nations conference on the subject of women’s rights, as it incorporates the accomplishments of prior conferences and treaties, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and the Vienna Declaration. It also reaffirms the definitions set out in Cairo and adds a paragraph on Human Rights in general.

The Beijing Platform for Action included agreements aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, eradicating poverty and adopting measures towards placing a decisive number of women in key positions. It also recognized that the right of women to control their sexuality and reproduction is one of their human rights, and called on States to review laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone abortions (reaffirming Article 8.25 of the Cairo Conference). It further posed the need to strengthen legislation protecting the rights of women.

Also of note are the recommendations concerning unremunerated work, the definitions contained in the chapter on armed conflicts, and certain decisions relating to macro-economic issues, as well as the acknowledgement of the racial and ethnic roots of discrimination and inequality. That the terms racial and ethnic were even included in a United Nations document attest to the fact that long-standing resistance on the part of certain member states in this respect was finally overcome.

The Summit focused on the following critical areas of concern:
  • Inequalities and inadequacies in, and unequal access to education and training

  • Inequalities and inadequacies in, and unequal access to health care and related services

  • Violence against women

  • The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation

  • Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources

  • Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels

  • Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women

  • Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women

  • Stereotyping of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media

  • Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment

  • Persistent discrimination against, and violation of the rights of the girl child
Beijing 1995 was preceded by other Conferences and United Nations and civil society meetings, which, starting in the 1970s, have gradually incorporated gender demands, committing governments and generating a broad debate within society through women's organizations.

This report provides resources on the various stages leading up to the 1995 Beijing Summit and its follow-up process, which involved the participation of women's groups from around the world, governments and the United Nations.
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Monday, June 29 2009
It's time to secure the rights of women in Africa
(Source: Pamabazuka News)
Friday, May 09 2008
Gender justice, citizenship and development
(Source: International Development Research Centre - IDRC)

Beyond Beijing +10

Gender Equity Index 2008: Progress and setbacks (Social Watch)

Gender justice, citizenship and development (International Development Research Centre - IDRC)

The Gender Equity Index 2007: inequity persists (Social Watch)

The long road to gender equity (Social Watch)

Women's rights: a tale of two national assemblies (Pambazuka)

Mechanisms for women's advancement in Latin America and the Caribbean

The accumulated effects of inequality (Social Watch India)

From victims to resisting people (Choike)

Beijing + 10 meets WTO + 10: assessing the impact of trade liberalization on women's human rights (International Gender and Trade Network)

It's time to get angry again! 10th AWID Forum begins (Choike)

Are we making progress, or fighting the same battles? (AWID)

Gender equality in education: world fails to meet MDG 3 (Isis International-Manila)

Women's organizations propose amendments to the Millennium+5 outcome document (Choike)

Towards and during Beijing +10

Turning promises into progress (Beijing & Beyond)

Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women delivered by Lorena Aguilar, IUCN Senior Gender Advisor (WEDO)

Economic justice and women’s human rights (MADRE)

Under fire, U.S. retreats from abortion stance (IPS)

U.S. abortion stance angers women at U.N. meet (IPS)

Book: Beijing Betrayed (WEDO)

Live coverage and media pool in Beijing + 10 (Amarc)

Another U.S. withdrawal at the United Nations? (WEDO)


No turning back: full implementation of women’s human rights now! (Amnesty International)

Calling on governments to reaffirm the Beijing Platform for Action - February 2005 (Peace Women)

February/March 2005: Beijing +10 related events (Peace Women)

Consultation with women’s rights groups on the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Declaration (Peace Women)

Global week of action for women’s rights (WEDO)

On-line discussions

UN on-line discussion on Beijing (Women Watch)

5th World Conference on Women/ Beijing +10 debate (AWID)

WIDE's discussion forum: A 5th high level conference on women in 2005? (WIDE)


UNECA web site on the reivew of Beijing (U.N. Economic CommisSion for Africa - UNECA)

It's time to secure the rights of women in Africa (Pamabazuka News)

Women, equality and the African human rights system (Pambazuka)

Implementation of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Pambazuka)

Protocol on the rights of women in Africa (Pambazuka)

Africa: time to walk the talk on women's rights (Pambazuka)

Seventh African Regional Conference on Women - October 2004 (UNECA)

From Beijing to Addis Ababa: what has progressed for African women? (Pambazuka)

Report of the Sub-regional Decade Report of the Sub-regional Decade Review Meeting (U.N.)

Rights of women in Africa: launch of petition to the African Union (Pambazuka)

Is there need for another Women’s conference next year? (East African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women - EASSI)

Southern African Development Community (SADC) gender experts review progress after Beijing (SARDC)

North Africa Beijing +10 meeting: need to consolidate the regional perspective to better meet challenges ahead (UNECA)

Asia Pacific

Asia-Pacific NGO Forum - 2004

Statement of the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+10 (Isis Women)

Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing +10 information

Plenary and workshop themes (Isis Women)

APC WNSP in the Beijing +10 Conference (APC Women)

Asia-Pacific NGO women discussion (APC Women)

Forum of Women's NGos of of Central Asia (WHRNet)


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women - CEDAW (U.N.)

25 years of the CEDAW (Social Watch)

2000 Beijing +5

Official web site on Beijing +5 (United Nations - DAW)

Follow-up to Beijing and Beijing +5 (United Nations – DAW)

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day - 8 March 2007 (United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS))

8 March 2005: International Women's Day (

International Women's Day 2004: the power of women's voices

Latest official documents

Official documents on Beijing +10 - Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) (U,N.)

Commission on the Status of Women: final report on Beijing +10 (CSW)

Roundup 122 - Beijing + 10, 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (NGLS)

Conference reaffirms Beijing Platform for Action (U.N.)

Economic Advancement of Women Resolution from the 2005 CSW Final Text (WEDO)

Eliminating demand for trafficked women and girls por all forms of exploitation (WEDO)

Beijing +10 previous debate

A petition to hold the Beijing +10 World Conference of Women outside of the U.S.

Beijing +10: Discussions at the 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Africa: reviewing the Beijing Declaration (Pambazuka)

Is there need for another Women’s conference next year? (East African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women - EASSI)

Beijing +10 regional and global processes (WEDO)

The UN Commission on the Status of Women and Beijing +10: a feminist strategy for 2004-05

Draft report on the question of Beijing +10 - No to negotiations for B +10? (Choike)

Beijing + 10 Review: a feminist strategy for 2004-05 (Center for Women’s Global Leadership - CWGL)

Beijing +10 discussion on World Social Forum 2004 (WICEJ)

A Conference on Women in 2005? The pros and cons (WIDE)

DAWN says no to negotiations for Beijing+10 and Cairo+10 (DAWN)

A report of the Consultations held at Kampala, Uganda

Brazil says no (DAWN)

Central Asian Meeting of Women's NGOs Beijing +10 (WHRNET)

International Alliance of Women (IAW)

The Beijing +10 debate (Kubatana)

B +10 regional meetings

Regional meetings calendar (WEDO)

PeaceWomen (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom)

Beijing +10 in Africa

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - ECE

United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean - ECLAC

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific - UNESCAP

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia - ESCWA

ESCWA Centre For Women

Latin America

Beijing Betrayed: Latin America and the Caribbean (WEDO)

ECLAC Beijing +10: a positive step Forward! (AWID)

Results of the Ninth Regional Conference on Women - 12 June 2004 (ECLAC)

"Pro-Life" pressure fails to thwart "sexual rights" (IPS)

Call for action (CLADEM)

UN Commission on the Status of Women

Review and appraisal (DAW)

Beijing at ten (U.N.)

Official web site

Details on NGOs activities to be held during the CSW

CSW inter-governmental agreements on Beijing + 10 Review

Holding governments accountable in the Beijing+10 review process (Equality Now)

Discussions at the 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Choike)

Discussions about the format of Beijing +10 review (WICEJ)

Policy report on gender and development: 10 Years after Beijing (

From Mexico '75 to Copenhagen '95

1980 Copenhagen (Choike)

1975 Mexico (Choike)

1994 Cairo (UNFPA)

1995 Copenhagen (Choike)

1985 Nairobi (United Nations)

1992 Rio (United Nations)

1993 Vienna (UNHCHR)

UN resources

Directory of UN Resources on Gender and Women's Issues (WomenWatch)

UN programmes and specialized agencies

Follow-up to and progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (NGLS)

Human rights of women (UNESCO)

Engendering the global agenda: the story of women and the United Nations (NGLS)


The Unfinished Story of Women and the United Nations (United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS))

Beijing Betrayed (2005) (WEDO)

Feminism, globalisation, internationalism: the state of play and the direction of the movement (Waterman)

Women Challenging Globalization (WEDO)

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