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Bejing Womens conference
Conference The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace Beijing, 4-15 September 1995
Informal name The Beijing Women’s Conference
Host Government China
Number of Governments participating 189
Conference Secretary-General Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, Assistant Secretary-General, Division for the Advancement of Women
Organizers The Commission on the Status of Women, with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) serving as the Conference secretariat
Principal themes The advancement and empowerment of women in relation to women’s human rights, women and poverty, women and decision-making, the girl-child, violence against women and other areas of concern
NGO presence More than 5,000 representatives from 2,100 non-governmental organizations and 5,000 media representatives attended the Conference and nearly 30,000 individuals attended the independent NGO Forum ’95
Resulting document The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
Follow-up mechanisms In addition to the national mechanisms, the primary UN bodies include the Commission on the Status of Women; the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM); the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW); and the Division for the Advancement of Women

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action were adopted by consensus on 15 September 1995. The Declaration embodies the commitment of the international community to the advancement of women and to the implementation of the Platform for Action, ensuring that a gender perspective is reflected in all policies and programmes at the national, regional and international levels. The Platform for Action sets out measures for national and international action for the advancement of women over the five years until 2000.

If implemented, the Platform for Action will enhance the social, economic and political empowerment of women, improve their health and their access to relevant education and promote their reproductive rights. The action plan sets time-specific targets, committing nations to carry out concrete actions in such areas as health, education, decision-making and legal reforms with the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in both public and private life.

The Conference, which brought together almost 50,000 men and women, focused on the cross-cutting issues of equality, development and peace, and analysed them from a gender perspective. It emphasized the crucial links between the advancement of women and the progress for society as a whole. It reaffirmed clearly that societal issues must be addressed from a gender perspective in order to ensure sustainable development.

The overriding message of the Fourth World Conference on Women was that the issues addressed in the Platform for Action are global and universal. Deeply entrenched attitudes and practices perpetuate inequality and discrimination against women, in public and private life, in all parts of the world. Accordingly, implementation requires changes in values, attitudes, practices and priorities at all levels. The Conference signaled a clear commitment to international norms and standards of equality between men and women; that measures to protect and promote the human rights of women and girl-children as an integral part of universal human rights must underlie all action; and that institutions at all levels must be reoriented to expedite implementation. Governments and the UN agreed to promote the “mainstreaming” of a gender perspective in policies and programmes.


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© Copyright United Nations 23 May 1997 | Department of Public Information | Revised 23 May 1997