“To begin with, all progress that has been made related to women’s rights was realised by or with the support of the women’s movement. The 4th World Conference on Women held in 1995 in Beijing resulted in some of the most comprehensive and forward thinking commitments related to gender equality to date. It is unimaginable this would have happened without the women’s movement.,” said a statement issued here.
“However, with time, criticism and disappointment has increased about the lack of implementation and practice when it comes to the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.”
Last year’s report by UN Women, ‘The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Turns 20’, opens with a foreword by Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, who describes the report as ‘(..) it is a salutary account of a world that has not, in the main, improved much for women and girls, and for some has got a lot worse.’
The statement added that it is not surprising that the women’s movement has persevered were governments fell behind. Historically the women’s movement has been one of the most organised and active of the different social movements. Asia is no exception. On the contrary, particularly countries which have male-dominated societies and have been repressive of women and girls have been the birth places of some of the strongest women’s rights activists of the region. These women have stood up because of the injustice and repression they face for being women, and it is this determination and bravery that assures that they have and always will be key-drivers for change.
Finally, the women’s movement in Asia continues to grow. It seems to have been able to reinvent and reenergise itself. Across the region brave women are standing up for their rights, and pushing for the realisation and implementation of the commitments made over 20 years ago. These new activists are bringing with them new ideas, new viewpoints and new energy. It is how the movement will adapt to the needs of our time, and will continue to be able to advocate and demand changes based on current needs.
However, possibly more importantly, renewed efforts should be made to assure that the women’s movement and the human rights movement reinforce, align and strengthen each other. Only when the women’s movement and the human rights movement truly join hands, will the chance of gender equality become an attainable goal. When both movements recognise that neither can obtain their vision for the future without realising the other, when both promote women’s rights as human rights, and human rights as women’s rights, only then, change will become a reality, concluded the statement.