The year 2020 marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA), heralded as the most progressive blueprint in achieving full human rights for all women and girls. Yet, 25 years on the ambitions of the BDPfA have not been achieved. In fact, the process takes place at a time of ever increasing challenges for women’s rights.
Since the adoption of the BDPfA, women the world over are still denied the choice and control over economic opportunities, outcomes and resources, or the ability to shape economic decision-making. The economic reality for women in the majority of the world is a life of scraping by, working in an unprotected informal sector as well as being responsible for the bulk of unpaid care work. Women working in formal sectors are limited by gender stereotypes of women’s work being less valued and less remunerated.
Yet, despite these challenges, feminist movements persist and continue to rise up to claim women’s rights. Transnational and community-level activism has never been greater. But failure of governments and donors to recognise the central role that women’s rights organisations play in realising women’s rights and appropriately resourcing them is one of the key barriers holding back progress.
As well as highlighting the role and contributions of women’s rights organisations and movements in the implementation of the BDPfA, this report calls on governments and other key stakeholders to recognise this critical role that women’s rights organisations play, their assessment of the current state of women’s rights on the 25th anniversary, and the importance of properly resourcing them.
Inspired and informed by collective women’s movements, the report provides a feminist analysis of the areas of progress, gaps and challenges in achieving women’s rights, with a particular focus on violence against women and girls, women’s economic rights and resourcing of feminist and women’s movements, and presents recommendations on what needs to happen in order to address the current challenges and barriers to realise women’s rights, gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.