“Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights”.
This proclamation, made famous by Hillary Clinton’s speech given during the Fourth World Conference on Women and subsequently enshrined in the monumental Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, rang out to the world as a truth most evident. A truth that landed with the weight of a recognition of a truth so manifest, but that was far from the lived realities of women in all countries of the world. The spirit of this proclamation and the conference was an urgent clarion call to action that generated unprecedented support, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was unanimously adopted by 189 nations in 1995.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and the 20th anniversary of another milestone for women’s rights and gender equality, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, that set forth the path for the development of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The WPS agenda, recalling critical elements of the Beijing Declaration, is a reinforcing and pioneering group of work that continues to move the struggle for gender equality forward.
Diverse groups of women from all over the world came together to fight for these advancements and now continue to come together to fight for the full and tangible implementation of the commitments set out in each. Women continue to come together in pursuit of the “goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity” through the unifying and actionable goals of the Declaration and the WPS agenda.
The work for equality continues as no country has achieved full gender equality, as we see significant and alarming regressions of hard-won progress, and as we start to see the severe consequences of extreme gender inequality through the immediate and projected setbacks of women and girls due to the global pandemic. There’s a long road ahead of us, resilience and fortitude in spirit are essential, but we must also take moments to reflect on and celebrate the victories, the successes, and appreciate the women whose shoulders we stand upon as we continue this crucial work of demanding liberation and equality for women, for all.
Photo: Mónica Orjuela/NHRF.