Hillary Rodham Clinton and Two Dozen Global Women Leaders Chart a Way Forward to Accelerate Progress for Women and Girls during and post-Covid-19 Pandemic
Beijing+25 Report Marks 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995 Blueprint for Advancing Women’s Rights Today
WASHINGTON, D.C. | September 10, 2020 – The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013), today released Beijing+25: Accelerating Progress for Women and Girls which serves as a roadmap to advance global gender equality. GIWPS hosted a special virtual commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference in Beijing to reflect on the progress since 1995, the challenges that remain, and promising ways forward to continue advancing women’s rights and gender equality. As the Covid-19 global crisis risks rolling back women’s modest gains and slowing or even reversing progress, the report provides a roadmap for a post-pandemic world.
The strategy for accelerating progress includes: (1) changing problematic gender norms; (2) enforcing and resourcing policies that promote equality; (3) countering growing backlash to gender equality; (4) fostering inclusive democracy and climate justice; and (5) harnessing technology as a means to promote women’s economic empowerment and protection from violence.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in Beijing, China in 1995, the new report builds upon the original Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
“Finishing the unfinished business of the Beijing platform is an urgent strategic imperative that all world leaders, men and women alike, must embrace — not with incremental steps or mere rhetoric, but with bold ideas, action, and real resources to get the job done,” said Secretary Clinton. “This is a watershed moment for women around the world and in the United States. Gender equality is an idea whose time has come, and it is up to us to make it a reality.”
Since 1995, there have been some important gains for women and girls, including parity in education in many countries, far fewer deaths in childbirth, more women elected to parliament and leadership positions in government and business, and reduced discrimination under the law. Yet major inequalities have persisted, only to be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic challenges us to rethink how we approach many aspects of life, and it also offers an unprecedented opportunity to reset” said Melanne Verveer, the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues (2009-2013) and current Executive Director of GIWPS. “Our response to the pandemic should be informed by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and help create a better world for women and girls everywhere.”
Beijing+25: Accelerating Progress for Women and Girls draws upon the wisdom and experience of 25 global women leaders. In addition to Secretary Clinton, they include:
- Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson for The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
- Leila Alikarami, Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate in Iran
- Laura Alonso, former Head of the Argentina Anti-Corruption Office
- Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile
- Ikram Ben-Said, Founder of Aswat Nissa in Tunisia
- Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Drew Faust, former President, Harvard University
- Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia
- Dalia Grybauskaitė, former President of Lithuania
- Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund
- Susana Malcorra, former Foreign Minister of Argentina
- Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
- Chouchou Namegabe, Founder and CEO, ANZAFRIKA in The Democratic Republic of Congo
- Reema Nanavaty, Head of Self-Employed Women’s Association of India
- Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President of Colombia
- Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
- Judith Rodin, former President of The Rockefeller Foundation
- May SabePhyu, Kachin Women’s Rights Activist, Myanmar
- Trisha Shetty, Founder of SheSays, India
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia
- Virginia Tan, Co-Founder and President of Lean In China
- Carolyn Tastad, Group President for North America at Procter & Gamble
- Margot Wallström, former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
“This pandemic has exacted an especially cruel toll on women and minorities, exposing persistent inequalities and threatening the modest gains achieved in recent years,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Only by working together, can we usher in a more just and prosperous world, and now is the time to bend the curve of this crisis and create a real and lasting systems change for women and girls – and for us all.”
Charting a Way Forward:
Part I of the report documents serious and persistent challenges such as the stagnation of women’s income and wages, discrimination depriving women of fair wages, and how women still carry the burden of unpaid work at home. Violence against women also remains a global scourge, and women remain largely excluded from higher levels of decision-making in governments (from local to the highest levels), in peace negotiations, and in corporate leadership.
With this as the backdrop, Part II provides a deeper dive into the five key areas for progress, mentioned above, with Part III proposing a course of action to leverage multiple actors—from civil society and youth, male allies and traditional authorities, through to the business community and multilateral agencies. When taken together, they not only accelerate progress for women and girls, but also build a better world for all.
This report was written by a GIWPS team, led by Dr. Jeni Klugman, Managing Director of GIWPS. It included extensive individual interviews with participants conducted by Ambassador Verveer and Sundaa Bridgett-Jones of The Rockefeller Foundation during the summer of 2020.
About Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS)
Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace & Security seeks to promote a more stable, peaceful, and just world by focusing on the important role women play in preventing conflict and building peace, growing economies, and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism. We engage in rigorous research, host global convenings, advance strategic partnerships, and nurture the next generation of leaders. Housed within the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, the Institute is headed by the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at giwps.georgetown.edu and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @giwps and Instagram @georgetown_wps.
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About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, policy, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @RockefellerFdn.
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