Intermediate School Kit on the United Nations: A Web
Unit 8: To be born a girl
Human Rights and Women
In 1975 the UN drew global attention to women's concerns by calling for an
International Women's year and convening the first conference on women in
Mexico City. The decade 1975-1985 became the decade of women, and another
convention was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1980. In 1985, the UN
convened a third conference on women in Nairobi, Kenya, to look at what
had been achieved at the end of the decade. After 1975, much-needed
information became available on the abilities, needs and status of women
across the globe. After Nairobi there were some positive changes as well.
Maternal health care, for instance, generally improved. Governments and
other institutions began to encourage more participation from women.
Yet the basic conditions of inequality persist in most places. In 1995, a fourth conference was convened in Beijing, China, in order to push for greater equality in all areas. It recognized that one of the most important ways to address this inequality is to bring more women into decision-making positions in government and other institutions. The basic belief behind these efforts is that a shared responsibility between men and women is the best way of achieving a global community and creating a just world.
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