Posts Tagged ‘Generation Equality Forum (GEF)’

Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing – 25 Years Later

September 15, 2020
Revisiting Bella Abzug's Vision Post-Beijing, 25 Years LaterSince Beijing in 1995, feminists have not stopped advocating for gender justice, and in facing current realities, have turned toward each other to build power, speak truth, and renew commitments to the promise of Beijing—to the promise of a just and healthy world. (Wikimedia Commons)

On September 12, 1995, former Congresswoman and WEDO co-chair Bella Abzug took to the podium at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China to ask: “What will we accomplish at the week’s end when the [Beijing] Platform for Action is adopted by the world’s women and its 189 governments?”

Twenty-five years later, feminists and women’s rights organizations find themselves grappling with the legacy of Beijing—recognizing both areas of critical progress made in advancing gender equality, and the harsh reality of our present world—mired by pandemic and interlocking crises of biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and social inequality. The promise of Beijing, so far, goes unfulfilled.

The Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), is one of a broad group of CSOs and feminist organizations engaging in an initiative to renew and advance the commitments made in Beijing called The Generation Equality Forum (GEF).

The Forum was launched as “a civil society-centred, global gathering for gender equality, aimed to launch a set of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions to achieve immediate and irreversible progress towards gender equality.” Six Action Coalitions have been set up, and WEDO is co-leading the Action Coalition for Feminist action on climate justice, with the knowledge that achieving climate justice is integral to any progress towards gender equality.

Following Bella’s lead, we ask ourselves, “What will we accomplish at the end of the Generation Equality Forum next year?”

Our vision: a renewed feminist agenda for a just and healthy planet.

The climate crisis is profoundly reshaping the world and the survival of communities, ecosystems and the biosphere. The struggle for livelihoods in this context is compounded for marginalized women and people, as the impacts of climate change intersect with structural inequalities like gender-based violence and discrimination.

This is particularly acute for those living in small island states, least developed countries, the global South, as well as for Indigenous peoples, urban poor, rural and remote communities, Black people, people with disabilities, migrant communities, LGBTQI+ folks, ethnic minorities, girls and youth, the elderly and many others.

For decades if not centuries, women’s rights and feminist activists and researchers have worked to showcase, to envision and to reframe understanding and metrics in our global world order. These alternatives serve to lift up the vital knowledge of frontline communities from around the world and they follow feminist analyses of money and power, currently working to deeply embed us in an extractive economy, to move us towards regenerative economies that center health, well-being and care.

Revisiting Bella Abzug's Vision Post-Beijing, 25 Years LaterBella Abzug on a panel at the United Nations. (WEDO / UN Women)

In working to define and create actions around these alternatives for advancing feminist action for climate justice, WEDO sees three key areas to make progress in fulfilling the goals of gender justice and planetary health set out 25 years ago:

1. Divest from harm, invest in care. For more details see the full article via rthe link below
2. Catalyze a gender-just transition
3. Protect and foster feminist leadership

In addition, women environmental and human rights defenders face ongoing, multifaceted and often state-sanctioned threats to their and their families’ lives and livelihoods, which are exacerbated by the dynamics of gender-based violence, with a twofold increase in the number of environmental defenders murdered over the last 15 years.

We must resource, invest and support women-led solutions, while safeguarding the environmental defenders who have put these solutions forth for generations. 

Feminists and women’s rights organizations have not stopped advocating for gender justice since Beijing, and in facing current realities, have turned toward each other to build power, speak truth and renew commitments to the promise of Beijing—to the promise of a just and healthy world.

See also:

Revisiting Bella Abzug’s Vision Post-Beijing, 25 Years Later