“Everybody is talking about it: Women’s Rights to take centre stage in 2020”, reveals a Guardian article headline from December 2019.
The main reason behind this is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Rights Conference, held in 1995, although the first World Conference on Women Rights was held in Mexico in 1975 (where they determined the 8th of March as the International Women’s Day). However, many reckon that the biggest step in the women’s movement was the Beijing Conference. The Beijing Platform for Action was adopted unanimously by 189 governments at the UN’s fourth world conference on women, held in China in 1995. “It is considered the most progressive international blueprint for advancing women’s rights”, the article emphasizes.
The conference has covered topics like inequalities and inadequacies in education, health care, decision-making, and economic areas. It also raised awareness over persistent discrimination against women and stereotypes. Today, we would think that these issues have improved since 1995. But they did not!
In the meantime, “legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men. Less than 25 percent of parliamentarians were women as of 2019. One in three women experience gender-based violence, still”, the United Nations Women’s website informs.
Need something more outrageous? Read the Global Gender Gap 2020, which tells us about the fact that gender parity won’t be achieved in the next 100 years. Neither we nor our children won’t be able to obtain it!
Why is it important to reach gender parity? For our society to thrive, it’s as simple as that. Half of our population are women, so it’s no rocket science to understand, that to develop in every field of life, we will undoubtedly need women to do so. We should aim for that goal, yet, in 72 countries of the world, it is forbidden for a woman even to open a bank account. And here is another shocking fact. There is no country in the world where men do the same amount of unpaid work as a woman!
UN Women has a hashtag for 2020 Women’s Day: “#eachforequal”. What can you do for everyone to be equal?
The Guardian has 12 points that include “working together with girls, stopping violence, sexual harassment, child marriage, encouraging women…” There is a so-called “role model effect”, which means that the more strong female leaders are present – the more little girls aspire to be one of them, thus, creating a chain reaction.
In Beijing, the most famous female movement speech was delivered by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Women’s rights are human rights!” is an excerpt from her speech. However, she made a warning that we can reflect upon 25 years later:
“As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world — as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes -the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.”
The author of this article is Aniko Soltesz, International Security and Safety Policy Undergraduate student and member of the International Diplomatic Student Association (IDSA).