Progress 20 years on: Beijing+20 reviews are underway


In the nearly 20 years since 189 countries committed to the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – an agenda for women’s empowerment and blueprint for advancing women's rights around 12 critical areas of concern – countries have worked hard to meet those goals, but many acknowledge remaining gaps and challenges. For instance, the South Asian country of Nepal reports that the nation has undertaken multiple measures to empower women by increasing their access to economic resources, such as access to employment, credit and wealth; however the Government adds in its national report, that the unstable political situation is a major challenge in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In Eastern Africa, Ethiopia reports progress towards ending child marriage and female genital mutilation, as well as increasing women parliamentarians, and addressing the gender gap in girls’ education through targeted measures to improve girls’ access to primary education such as the construction of separate toilets for girls. In its national report, the Government acknowledges that there is still a significant challenge ahead in order to overcome the historic legacy of inequality and discrimination to further promote gender equality.

These are some of the inroads and challenges being reported by the 142 UN Member States that have so far completed national-level reviews as part of the Beijing+20 process. Conducted at national, regional and global levels, the on-going review aims to assess the progress made and challenges encountered by countries towards achieving gender equality and advancing the rights of women and girls. Based on their findings, States are encouraged to undertake new and concrete action to overcome the identified gaps and challenges.

Regional intergovernmental reviews will take place in November and December 2014. Together with the national reviews, these will feed into the global review and appraisal that will be conducted by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at its 59th session in March 2015 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The session is being prepared by UN Women.

For more information on the process and to review all other submitted reports click here.