Commission on the Status of Women

Follow-up to Beijing

The Beijing Process and Beyond

The Commission has been responsible for organizing and following up the world conferences on women in Mexico (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995).  Over the past decade, the Commission has systematically reviewed progress in the implementation of the twelve critical areas of concern identified in the Beijing Platform for Action at its annual sessions, and has adopted action-oriented recommendations, in the form of agreed conclusions, to facilitate increased implementation at all levels.

The Commission acted as the Ad-hoc Preparatory Committee for the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (Beijing+5). The outcome identified persistent gaps and challenges and provided new recommendations for action to ensure full implementation of the commitments made in Beijing in 1995.

The ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action was carried out by the Commission at its forty-ninth session in March 2005. The Commission adopted a Declaration on the occasion of the ten-year review.  Member States reaffirmed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and pledged to ensure their full and accelerated implementation.

The fifteen-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action took place during the fifty-fourth session of the CSW.

Fourth World Conference on Women

Fourth World Conference on Women - Action for Equality, Development and Peace

Fourth World Conference on Women
Beijing
September 1995



Twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (Beijing+5)


Ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing+10)

 

Multi-year programme of work

The Commission elaborated a multi-year programme of work for the first time in 1987 (ECOSOC resolution 1987/24 of 26 May 1987).  In 1996, following the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a multi-year programme of work was adopted for the period 1997-2000 (ECOSOC resolution 1996/6). Subsequent work programmes were adopted in 2001 (ECOSOC resolution 2001/4) and most recently in 2006 (ECOSOC resolution 2006/9), and most recently in 2009 (ECOSOC resolution 2009/15). Priority themes on the Commission’s agenda for the period 2010-2014 are:

  • 2010 - Review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and its contribution to shaping a gender perspective towards the full realization of the Millennium Development Goals

  • 2011 - Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work

  • 2012 - The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges

  • 2013 - Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls

  • 2014 - Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls

Methods of work

The Commission on the Status of Women adopted new working methods at its fiftieth session in March 2006. Starting from its fifty-first session, the Commission will focus on one priority theme, based on the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. The Commission also placed greater emphasis on implementation and will evaluate progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions on a priority theme from a previous session.

At its annual session, the Commission convenes an interactive high-level round table focusing on experiences, lessons learned and good practices on the priority theme; and two interactive panels on the priority theme, one on key policy initiatives to accelerate implementation; and the second on capacity-building on gender mainstreaming in relation to the priority theme.

The Commission addresses an emerging issue at each session in an interactive expert panel focusing on achievements, gaps and challenges through an exchange of national and regional experiences, lessons learned and good practices, including results with supporting data.

The Commission also engages in general discussion on follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. Member States identify goals attained, achievements, gaps and challenges in relation to implementation of key policy commitments.

At each session, the Commission considers the report of the Working Group on Communications. The Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women meets three days prior to the start of the annual session, in closed meetings, to consider confidential communications and replies by Governments. In its report, the Working Group brings to the attention of the Commission any consistent patterns of reliably attested injustice and discriminatory practices against women. The Working Group is made up of five members, representing each region. The Group is appointed by the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Commission observes International Women’s Day on 8 March every year.  For two hours, its regular session is suspended for a commemorative event organized by the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality.

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming was endorsed as a strategy for promoting equality between women and men by the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted agreed conclusions 1997/2 on mainstreaming the gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system at its coordination segment on 18 July 1997. The importance of the gender mainstreaming strategy was reiterated by the General Assembly at its twenty-third special session in June 2000 and in subsequent resolutions. In 2004, the Council reviewed the implementation of agreed conclusions 1997/2. The most recent resolution on gender mainstreaming was adopted at the 2006 substantive session of ECOSOC (Council resolution 2006/36).

“Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programmes, in all areas and at all levels, and as a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.” (ECOSOC 1997/2)

The Commission plays a catalytic role in promoting gender mainstreaming at national level and within the United Nations system. Its work has led to increased efforts to mainstream a gender perspective into the work of other functional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the work of the General Assembly on the human rights of women, as well as the work of the Security Council on women, peace and security.