In 1995, Beijing hosted the 4th World Conference on Women.189 governments adopted
a visionary roadmap, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which more
than 17,000 delegates and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had
equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life. It was recognized as the
most comprehensive agenda to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Twenty years later, participants are looking back and evaluating the progress made.
Much has been achieve since, but much more needs to be done and can be done. To
celebrate the 20th anniversary, UN Women kicked off a year-long campaign, “Empowering
Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” campaign. Each month focuses on a
• June 2014: Women and the Environment
• July 2014: Women and Decision-Making
• August 2014: Girl Child
• September 2014: Women and the Economy
• October 2014: Women and Poverty
• November 2014: Violence Against Women
• December 2014: Human Rights of Women
• February 2015: Education and Training of Women
• March 2015: Institutional Mechanisms
• April 2015: Women and Health
• May 2015: Women and the Media
• June 2015: Women in Armed Conflict
• March – September 2015: Focus on Government Action
As the official website puts it, “The 20th anniversary of Beijing opens new opportunities
to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political will and mobilize the public.
Everyone has a role to play – for our common good. The evidence is increasingly in that
empowering women empowers humanity. Economies grow faster, for example, and families
are healthier and better-educated.
“The Beijing Platform for Action, still forward-looking at 20, offers important focus on
rallying people around gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its promises are
ambitious. But over time, and with the accumulating energy of new generations, they
are within reach.”