The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), which remains the most visionary and comprehensive roadmap for advancing women’s rights globally. This year also marks a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the reaffirmation of gender equality as inextricably linked to achieving sustainable development for all by 2030.
Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, some progress toward gender equality has been made. Over the past decade, 131 countries have passed laws to support women’s equality, including to increase access to health care and good quality education, and to promote women’s political participation and representation; more countries have reached gender parity in educational enrolment; and fewer women are dying in childbirth.
Yet, progress has been too slow. Not a single country has achieved gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored society’s reliance on women both on the front lines of the response, and at home, while the pandemic’s impact is putting at risk the hard-won gains for women’s rights. Women and girls are facing disproportionate impacts with far-reaching consequences across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection.
Due to the pandemic, it is estimated that in 2021, 47 million women and girls will be pushed into extreme poverty, bringing the total to 435 million. By 2021, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty, there will be 118 women, a gap that is expected to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030.
WHAT: On 1 October 2020, under the theme, “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls,” the UN General Assembly will convene a High-Level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women. The High-Level meeting is an opportunity for Member States to demonstrate the political will and leadership to ensure the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Platform for Action. Towards this end, world leaders are invited to present concrete actions and commitments. The meeting will consist of an opening segment, a plenary, and a closing segment.
WHEN: 1 October 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT Opening segment
09:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (ET)
Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly at its 75th session;
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General;
Representative of China, host country of the Fourth World Conference on Women;
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director;
Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director;
Hilary Gbedemah, Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
Elizabeth Broderick, Chair of the Working Group of the Human Rights Council on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice;
Dubravka Šimonovic, Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on violence against women, its causes and consequences;
Sascha Gabizon, civil society representative;
Ixchel Adolfo, young woman leader.
10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (EDT)
Heads of State and Government and other leaders will present concrete actions and commitments to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030, including in support of the role of civil society organizations and youth.
The high-level meeting of the General Assembly will take place in the context of the Generation Equality campaign. The Generation Equality Forum, originally scheduled to be held in Mexico City and in Paris in 2020, is now postponed to next year and is being adapted and strengthened to respond to the current context.
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