Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the foundational global document on gender equality, governments at an abbreviated session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) have reaffirmed a commitment to gender equality but, according to leading feminist groups and activists, fell short of committing to the transformative steps necessary to achieve this vision.
To address the gaps in the political declaration adopted at the CSW64 by governments, the Women’s Rights Caucus—a global coalition of more than 200 feminist organizations, networks and collectives that advocates for gender equality at the United Nations—has published an alternative, feminist declaration. The Feminist Declaration outlines a bold and urgent agenda for gender equality and the human rights of all women and girls, and centers the critical role of civil society organizations advocating for accountability in policy and programs meant to promote, protect, and fulfill human rights for all.
WILPF's Women, Peace and Security Programme commented:
“It is not enough for governments to simply reaffirm past commitments. To achieve gender equality, we need to commit to supporting feminist movements and to adopt a bold and forward-looking agenda that addresses the multiple and intersecting challenges faced by all women and girls. We will not be able to achieve gender equality without peace, disarmament, and human rights.”
The feminist declaration includes critical issues that feminist movements believe governments must tackle to achieve gender equality, including: women, peace, and security; the intersections between the climate crisis and gender equality; sexual and reproductive rights and bodily autonomy; and the role of women’s human rights defenders and feminist movements, who are the key to driving long-term change.
“It is inexcusable that, due to backlash from some governments, the women, peace and security agenda was mostly cut from the political declaration. In the 20 years since its adoption, there has been extremely little progress made on ensuring that the rights of women and girls in conflict-affected areas are protected and upheld. The Feminist Declaration launched today reflects the priorities of the feminist movement and provides governments and other stakeholders with a path toward true equality and peace. In such a pivotal year - which includes the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the UN needs to hold a full CSW that includes the full and meaningful participation of women’s movements from around the world.” - WILPF Women, Peace and Security Programme