Discussion 1: Beijing to Beijing +25

1 Feb - 27 Feb 2019
Go back to Consultation for the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality

Published on 30 January 2019 in Consultation for the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality

tunis forum on gender equality flyer

Thank you for participating in this online consultation.The final set of recommendations which emerged from this theme at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality can be found here.


It is our pleasure to welcome you to the on-line consultation on the Tunis Forum for Gender Equality 2019. This consultation will take place from 1 – 28 February 2019. This consultation provides an opportunity for all those interested in gender equality to influence the agenda of the Tunis Forum for Gender Equality and contribute to the global debate for 2019 and 2020.

The Tunisia forum will be a follow up to the Stockholm Forum held in April 2018 The focus in Tunisia will be on reclaiming the gender equality agenda before Beijing +25. We will be looking for the key participation of women and men under 35 who can help frame priorities for the future.  Whilst global awareness of the importance of gender equality and awareness of the ubiquitous nature of violence against women has increased, so has the conservative backlash. As we prepare for key events in 2020, including both the 25th anniversary of the Beijing platform for action and the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, we want to ensure that a young voice looking to the future is predominant. 
 

To take this discussion forward, we propose the following two questions:

  1. In 2020, 25 years after Beijing, no country in the world has achieved gender equality. Based on what we know now, since the Beijing conference in 1995, where should our focus lie? What must be the top critical issues to galvanize the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender equality commitments of the SDGs to achieve equality by 2030?
  2. Are there key issues that should be put on the agenda that were missed 25 years ago?

 

Remember, those who are particularly engaged in the online consultation may also receive an invitation to attend in person. If you would like to recommend individuals, preferably from different areas of society, who would be relevant and interested in being invited to the Tunis Forum, please visit use this form (the deadline is 20th February 2019).

We look forward to a lively and engaged discussion. 

Comments (168)

Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Thank you for participating in this online consultation.The final set of recommendations which emerged from this theme at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality can be found here.

alicia Soto • consultant at REPEM - LAC Red de Educacion Popular entre Mujeres Latinoamerica y Caribe from Chile

The Biejing POA was a very  revolutionary document when it was  created and still  maintain important issues  that women organizations  have been fighting to be implemented while  many countries still ignore them . E,G, sexua and reproductive right in education ..... feminists and women organizations  have gain some issues to be implemneted by government, however new issue have arise  ans teherfore ssues to be out in the agenda  and were missed are the following 

I will just highligh  some issues  that we can discuss and develop further

1. Biejiing document did not refer to MIGRATION ( displaced, refuf¡gees,, traffiking  etc) , an issue that is not included and should  be analyzed and develop. Today  women migration is a issue that many countries  must face . Considering to  mainstrain in all the  strategic objectives  could be a possibolity  but  as   migration is a key issue in today modern world I suggest to start a conversation on integrating as a strategic objective . 

2. In Education ,  is missing the concept of Life long learning and quality of education  both of them  part of the SDG4 . Specially the  paragraph 83 k) should have a stronger language on sexual and reproductive right education.

3.  During the  years  rural women issues has not been  put in the agenda of the countris  in certain regions. Specially my experience has been in the LAC region . Also  afrodescendents  women have  been forgoten in ine Bejing declaration.  I suggest  to start a discussion  to produce a independent objective that include  rural woem, indigenous and afrodescendent .

4. Finally it will be importan to consider  as well  disable women  and LGTB

Regards Marcela Ballara, REPEM

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Alicia you are totally right that  there are emerging issues like refugees ,migrants and will add displaced women and girls which will be on top of any transformative gender equality agenda

 Don’t you think it’s high time we push for a real revision of the current global policy  regarding migrants and refugees?

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you so much Alicia for such insightful inputs. How do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum? What do you suggest? 

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

 Dear Global community,

Excited to take part as a moderator together with three amazing moderators for the Consultation's Discussion 1: Beijing to Beijing +25   to assess progress made in implementation and identify challenges encountered to achieve the agenda of gender equality and empowerment of women. 

Your feedback, comments and suggestions will certainly contribute to the acceleration of a transformative agenda where gender equality and women’s empowerment are fully and effectively achieved.

Welcome onboard and let us all react and share

Meryem AGADI • Developer Manager at Moroccan Ministry of youth and Sports from Morocco

Dear Fatima,

I would like to develop a program to promote volunteering in Morocco or even in Africa on the issue of gender equality and empowerment of women.

Please let me know when we could talk about it!

Best regards,

Meryem

S ann • from United States

The Beijing Platform calls for empowerment of all women through the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;  the prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security.  

It is correct that the Beijing Platform has not achieved gender equality and gender violence persists.  Women from all over the world still live in poverty and economic inequality persists; women are denied access, equity and equality in education; and men fail to share power and responsibilities in the home, the nation and international communities.  Though that is changing with the increase of women worldwide in politics, in the judicial systems; and women in leadership roles from the boardroom to nation heads, and though in some countries fathers are now stay-at-home dads as well.

The first step forward based on the Beijing Platform is to ratify, implement and enforce all human rights laws.  The top issue that must be addressed is to eliminate systemic gender and racial oppression.   I added racism because the same systemic structures used to oppress race, also oppresses gender, and gender intersects with race.

I found Tunisia’s accomplishments to be unique and forward thinking.  According to “The New Arab,” published 20 January 2018, the Prime Minister signed  a new bill naming both husband and wife as joint heads of the family and allow both to pass down their surname; abolished the marriage dowry; scraped a law forbidding interracial marriage; and the government visibly took steps to address the country’s epidemic of gender-based violence passing a landmark law in July.  The “Social Institution and Gender Index” for Tunisia  provides a birds-eye-view its status at genderindex.org.  

The U.S. in its 2015 Beijing report,  under Obama Administration, several accomplishments are noted: passage of the first ever national healthcare law, a landmark pay equity law, and over $400 million USD allocated for domestic violence, human trafficking, training for officers and prosecutors, sexual assault program, and to reduce sexual assault against women (and men) on college campuses and public housing.  Presently, under the Trump Administration the Department of Education is trying to roll back the protections for campus students by restricting reports of discrimination to only persons who have the authority to take corrective measures.  Prevention is everyone’s responsibility.  To deny reports to anyone in authority implements the old proverbial adage, “no see, no hear, no say, no do.”  The US must also change the complaint process from “prosecutor, judge and jury,” to a fair and equitable process.  Lastly, US Congress has not reauthorized the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) that was due on December 7, 2018.  The VAWA is reauthorized every five years.  

The #Metoo movement actually discourages “carceal feminism” (criminal justice); and does not support the VAWA because it is believed that it perpetrates the problem.  “We want to avoid letting our words and actions be used to justify policies we oppose.”  Instead, “as a movement, we should prioritize demands that can prevent sexual violence before it happens, assist survivors in leaving abusive environments;” “feminists must focus on distributive economic solutions;” and to reduce violence, we must reduce inequality.”  Progressive feminists now look to transformative justice vs. criminal justice.

The Beijing Platform does not address the intersectionality of women or reparations.  I would add gender equity through funding and changing the stereotypical narrative to inclusion.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you so much Ann for such an insightful ideas and inputs. You have shared insights along with the appropriate data and information. 

How do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum? What do you suggest? 

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

 Ann, thank you for for highlighting the intersection of gender and race .Women have for years been subjected to all forms of oppressive treatments from same systemic structures used to oppress race. Good that you raised the backlashes in providing protection to campus students  and also pointed to the uniqueness of Tunisia commitment towards  strengthening gender equality.

I fully agree that BP transformative agenda we will have to push for should address women’s reparations, allocate funding and for a more inclusive narrative.

With this context, can we together, outline strategies for addressing existing gaps and challenges and why not shaping some priority actions we will bring to Tunis Forum table???

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

Thanks Fatima fir sharing your insights. As the situation is different in various countries so the gaps may also be different. The major gap in Pakistan is that people  specially NGOs either work on lines of feminism  or masculinities and there is no collaboration among different NGOs. There is a need to work in a collaborative manner and a middle way to solve the gender equality problem should be adopted

S ann • from United States

Fatima and Sailesh, diversity, inclusion, and equity are essential to achieving gender equality.  There is strength in numbers, yet there is also “power in one.”  There are both pros and cons in the use of quotas.   Quotas can open doors otherwise closed, but in many instances quotas have not achieved their intended purpose.  Many countries have also determined quotas to be unconstitutional.  While others have taken the approach that “effective quota systems represent a shift in approach from ‘equal opportunity to equality of results.” The International IDEA provides an atlas of “Gender Quotas Around the World" and other relevant data.   Scandinavian countries have been cited as a model for achieving equality for women without the use of quotas since the 1970s, and the key contributing factor is due to the high level of representation in the parliament and local councils.  In 2018, the United States set a historical record of Congressional women, without quotas, in its 116th US Congress, including women of color, one who is a candidate for the President of the United States for the upcoming 2020 elections, Senator Kamala Harris.  I encourage you all to read her book "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey."

With respect to strategies, the interplay of law and policy making are critical in achieving gender equality.  National constitutions and laws should guarantee equality for both men and women, and laws that discriminate against women should be repealed or amended to include women.  "Proven Measures and Hidden Gems for Improving Gender Diversity" provides three clusters of gender diversity initiatives: hidden gems, proven measures, and steps that will not move the needle.   "Gender Diversity on Boards: Beyond Quotas" also offers alternatives, to include policies facilitating quotas for corporate board leadership, adopting practices by American football teams, Australian mentoring programs, and UK disclosure rules. Again, to identify best practices and new initiatives in achieving gender equality require extensive research and collaboration.

(Please let me know if the links are active or not, I am not seeing the data.)

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

While talking about the gender equality achievements after Beijing we should mention the achievements of local women and girls The social environment in Pakistan has changed positively and people are raising their voices against the atrocities and injustice, 

As far as the laws and their implementation is concerned we are still very behind and governments should work on this issue with high political  commitment. 

I feel that our approach to achieve the gender equality also needs revision. All thee gender discussions ultimately focus on the women issues while the issues of men are ignored or not discussed thoroughly. We should focus on the development of families and should aware men on the issues of development and how women could help in this. 

Our approach to  work is  creating more conflict in the households.

These  are my thoughts and I hope this makes sense.

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Zubaida there is no doubt that engaging men in strengthening gender equality should be encouraged and consolidated in parts of this world where men and women work collaboratively to end gender stereotypes ,GBV violence and discrimination.

Thank you for raising this and will look forward to

good practices on engaging men

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Wow, Zubaida it's essential to definitely essential to mention the achievements of local women and girls. Your insight on political participation is apt.

However, how do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum? What do you suggest? 

Mbuh Raphael Mbuh • Agriculture and human rights at First Modern Agro. Tools Common Innitiative Group from Cameroon

Gender equality is all about providing equal opportunities and rights to both male and female. It should not mean a woman is equal to a man. Or that women should ignore tha fact that they most remain submissive to their husbands.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

True. Do you have any ideas of what  we can present a suggestion in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum? What do you suggest? 

S ann • from United States

While I respect the views of a more cohesive approach to gender equality between men and women, that is the ultimate goal.  But we are not there yet, that’s why we are having these discussions.  The systemic structures MUST be removed, the stereotypical biases must be removed and there is a need for men (and women) to come to the realization that women are partners not men’s “footstool”, “slave,” “punching bag,”  or “sex on demand.”  Rather women are humans and deserve  love and respect, opportunities to thrive, and it’s not always about “men,” and their needs  and what they want.  Please do not take this comment as men bashing. (I have love for men.)   It’s a shared experience, it’s a shared level of respect and it’s a shared responsibility for the betterment of our homes, our nations and the world.

I also want to add from my previous post concerning Tunisia’s advancements. They are unique for Tunisia, but in the US we don’t need permission to hyphenate our surnames, and pass our maternal and paternal surnames to the future generations.  Progressive-minded women broke that tradition years ago.  We did have to go to court and fight in the “Lovings” case for interracial marriage.  Nor do we need to be told how to wear our hair.  More importantly, the government should not have the authority to dictate personal preferences in these matters.

Fatima, as a starting place for strategies — research is essential.  The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women does work on reparations and the UNDP UN Women did a workshop in 2010 on “Reparations, Gender and Development.” It’s online, it’s a good resource.  On dismantling systemic structures, South Africa is doing work with the US through a transnational partnership to dismantle systemic structures through Columbia University — that may be of interest.  However, effective strategies will require extensive research, collaboration and the development of processes for implementation.  Such an endeavor requires funding.  I would be willing to participate. I am a civil and human rights professional, scholar and activist.

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

I like your comment but the situation in US cannot be compared to other countries. It is the free choice we need and if someone feels comfortable in veil it is her choice. and if someone is comfortable without veil she should do  so freely. One thing is very important that we should design the strategies which should benefit all and not some. 

I have more than 30 years of experience working with families in Pakistan and have noticed that a family can only be happy and satisfied only when there is lesser conflict in families and relationships are based on respect and love so at least in Pakistan we should focus more on men as they are the decision makers and if they are aware of the women rights then they will treat them with respect.

The other thing is that we should  work with moulvis (religious leaders) as they are the ones who have major impact on people.

 

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Ann, unfortunately women mothers and wives of victims of Human right violations are not always considered as victims themselves who should be 

included in any reparation program or plan.(see Morocco case on transitional justice)

For all the laws that have been reformed to strenghten gender equality in Tunisia including the Nationality law ,much credit is to be attributed

to Tunisian activist who struggled for years to get their rights. It is our fight as rights holders to lobby policy makers to enact undiscriminatory laws.

Nothing is given for granted

Research is essential and should be the basis for any field work.Totally agree.

S ann • from United States

Fatima Outaleb, briefly, in looking at the Morocco case, with respect to transitional justice, it appears a Truth and Justice Commission was developed by a royal decree accountable to the king.   The Commission comprised of seven members; all men and one woman.  A study mentioned gender was not considered and women were rendered invisible (like other Truth and Justice Commissions).  Another study claimed reparations were awarded unfairly and that the Commission’s results “did not yield in truth recovery and compliance with liberal values of justice and the rule of law.”  Though five years afterwards, there were some notable gains in compensation and a program for community reparations, as well as a recent health and social rehabilitation program.  (Which I would like to learn more about.)

I wonder with a more balance of power, what the end result would have looked like?   I note, too, that you have done great work on writing/amending your national constitution, how has gender equality been included?  With your expertise, what strategies do you recommend for gender equality in righting historical wrongs as well as present day human rights violations against women, i.e., sexual and gender-based violence?  What strategies do you and others recommend for dismantling systemic bias such as gender?  Are Truth and Justice Commissions effective, if not, are there alternatives?

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

S ann ,the first recommendations of the equity and reconciliation commission excluded  women mothers /daughters and wives from compensations  and reparation programming and  it was actually thanks to the only woman member of the commission and who is a former detainee herself that gender  was included in its holistic dimension in the reparation process .

 So far almost all commission recommendations were not implemented 

The involvement of youth  /building alliances with young women and men and structuring work initiated by young bloggers and FB users is one of the ways out to  this blockade 

womens organisations should rebuild their alliances , renovate their narrative and involve in politics and public debate

Reducing gender to numbers and focusing only on the number of seats women occupy 

without taking part in political and economical policies  debate has broadened the gap and left us behind

Libertaria J.P • Directora at Haurralde Fundazioa from Spain

Los principales problemas  críticos a los que nos enfrentamos fundamentalmente las mujeres  siguen siendo múltiples, el mas grave  la violencia de género , los indicadores de mujeres asesinadas en Bolivia, México, en España… son altísimos. 

Nos enfrentamos a nuevos retos, la mirada interseccional de genero sigue sin estar sobre la mesa,  las ·subalternas” siguen sin tener en muchos espacios la voz. A eso le sumamos la indiferencia de los países llamados “rocos” respecto a las migraciones forzadas o económicas;  la precariedad  es mayor respecto al  genero femenino,  y las mujeres no hemos alcanzado cuotas reales de  representatividad política. El cambio climático nos afecta en mayor medida, y los Derechos sexuales y reproductivos están en franco retroceso antes los actuales  fundamentalismos políticos y religiosos.  Lamentablemente no vivimos un bue momento para los DDHH  de las mujeres.  No puede existir igualdad en una sociedad  donde un 10% de  ricos dirigen el mundo para el resto. Necesitamos hablar de justica  económica,  de paraísos fiscales,  de países  que continúan colonizando y expoliando  riquezas , capital humano  y  social. 

Alicia Deus • from Uruguay

I agree with   the importance that Beijing has had for the transformations  in gender equality that have been operating in the countries , though,  undoubtedly, much remains to be done, many objectives still to be fulfilled ,  and  new issues are    revealed   showing  problems and inequities that were not seen  as they were historically naturalized.

Violencia against women is still a very serious and unsolved problem in every  country. Another  essential pendient task is to deepen and  strengthen strategies and actions to  achieve    objectives IV L1 to L8 related to girls, considering specially, of course, the  situation of migrants and rural women,  which intersects  with age and social  and environmental vulnerability.

 Child maternity, adolescent pregnancy, forced pregnancies, the prohibition of abortion  are  issues that many societies  still  do not see   as a problem of inequity and  as real obstacles to the empowerment of girls and adolescents. Motherhood is still sacred and taken as the essential function of women.  However, it seals the fate of both the child/adolescent  and  her    children and condemns them to discrimination and poverty and to the reproduction of that poverty in future generations.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

El cambio climático nos afecta en mayor medida, y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos están en retroceso ante los fundamentalismos políticos y religiosos actuales.

Has hecho un punto acertado. Según usted, ¿cómo podemos presentar esto de manera innovadora en el foro?

Jessica P. • from United States

Thank you for the opportunity to comment!

Beijing + 25 has an opportunity to capitalize on the groundswell of women’s rights activism that has reemerged in recent years. As an American, I know that most people in my country are not aware of international human rights mechanisms. Therefore, starting at the local level and involving a younger generation in the promotion of the Platform for Action could help draw attention to this ground-breaking document and in turn could galvanize efforts to hold governments, especially local governments, accountable to the Platform’s principles. An example of such a grassroots effort can be seen in the US Cities for CEDAW campaign. Because the US refuses to ratify CEDAW at the federal level, several cities, counties and municalties have adopted the principles of CEDAW into local law. This effort actually came out of a large delegation of San Francisco women who joined the U.S. delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women that put together the Beijing Platform for Action. To make the lofty goals of the Platform a reality in their city, this group of women hit upon the strategy of creating a local ordinance reflecting the principles of CEDAW. To date, seventy-one cities and counties have adopted or are exploring adopting CEDAW ordinances and resolutions. Especially in countries that have ratified CEDAW, local communities can use the treaty to advance gender equality with such tools like conducting a gender analysis of their town and using that data to hold their local governments accountable to the treaty. Local grassroots advocacy such as Cities for CEDAW and social media movements like #MeToo present a prime moment to involve women, especially young women, in the promotion of the Platform for Action.

I think there also has to be more of an effort to involve men in gender equality efforts. Educating men on the benefits of feminism for themselves and their families will ultimately have a broader impact on advancing gender equality in a sustainable way.

Finally,  I think an intersectional approach to feminism has to be at the forefront of our advocacy for gender equality. We must consider the multiple ways in which women experience discrimination and implement the Platform for Action in a way that addresses the intersecting barriers to women’s full enjoyment of their human rights.

S ann • from United States

Fatima, on Tunisia’s advancement.  My comment was not to discredit by any means or to throw shade at Tunisia. That’s quite an accomplishment to the influence the government.   As Zubaida mentioned, every country’s  experience is unique and what works for one, may not work for another.   The bottom line for Tunisia, different from the US experience — a change was made.  I still stand by my comment which applies to any  country — that governments should not dictate your name or who you choose to marry.

I hear you with respect to those women who do not realize the harm they are subjected too.  We are our sisters keepers and must give them a nudge so they will be awaken.

S ann • from United States

Hey Jessica, homegirl!  You are absolutely on point with respect to the implementation of human rights at the local level.  California, Minnesota, Atlanta, New York, DC and other states are at the forefront.  We have lots of work to do in that regard.  However, with the increase of diverse women recently elected in Congress, perhaps we can expect a change at the Federal level, too.  I think it is critical to find out why Congress opposes to ratify and implement human rights treaties.  I also think civil and human rights should be apart of schools’ curriculum and businesses should incorporate human rights in their business practices. It takes laws and leadership.  

No doubt men need to be educated, and yes we do have men allies and male survivors.  The UN also supports the initiative to engage men.

S ann • from United States

As a follow up to Zubaida’s comment on a strategy regarding families, parents, especially, mothers, who are usually the primary caretaker of their children, may want to change how they raise them by removing stereotypical practices. I believe women in general unbeknowingly contribute to the problem.  Teach children to respect one another, boys not to hit girls, boys learn to cook and do domestic work as girls, etc.

zainab • مدير تنفيذي at جمعية زينب الخيرية from Syria

شكرا لكم على التفاصيل كلها المذكورة و كل ما ذكر يسلط الضوء على المشاكل الموجودة في كل العالم و منها سورية.

العديد من الامور التي اتمنى الحديث عنها و محاولة اخذ قرارات حاسمة بما يخصها و منها جرائم الشرف و الميراث و اعطاء جنسية الام للاولاد

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Zainab نحن سعيدات بالتفاعل حول مواضيع العنف التي مازالت متفشية وسنكون اسعد لو تقاسمنا التجارب والاستراتيجيات لإدماجها في الخطة التي ستنبثق عن مؤتمر تونس 

سوريا في قلب الحدث والنساء السوريات سباقات للتصدي للعنف

فهل لنا ان نتفاعل اكثر حول الاولويات خاصة مظاهر العنف الجديدة التي أفرزها الصراع الداءئر في المنطقة كجهاد النكاح سبي النساء الاتجار بهم والتهجيره والاستغلال الجنسي؟؟؟

zainab • مدير تنفيذي at جمعية زينب الخيرية from Syria

Fatima Outaleb طبعا و خاصة انه في سورية يوجد الكثير و للاسف من القصص و التي ممكن ان تفيدنا بمعرفة الحلول ولو كانت اولية

zainab • مدير تنفيذي at جمعية زينب الخيرية from Syria

يوجد في جعبتنا قصص سيدات عانين من الاسر و الخطف و التعذيب النفسي و الجسدي و ايضا من التاثيرات مابعد خروجهم من الاسر لدى المجموعات الارهابية و محاولة العودة للحياة بعد غيابهم لفترة طويلة

S ann • from United States

لديك خالص تحياتى. اعلم مدى صعوبة الصراع لبلدك. رايت طفلة فى الوسائط الاجتماعية يعترف للسماح لنا السماح الطعام والامدادات. لقد كسر قلبى, بعثت برسالة الى رئيس جمهوريتنا. وبعدها بقليل المساعدات.

Natasha Dokovska • program director at Journalists for Human Rights from Macedonia

I remember when I was prepared myself for Beijing conference in 1995 and few years after this conference, I was very optimistic and believe that lot of things will go forward, very similar as Millennium Goal…But, today, 25 year after that conference, I can say that lot of topic are not yet open, or maybe are worst. As I remember The Beijing Platform calls for empowerment of all women through the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as accent for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security.  

Unfortunately, gender equality is not remotely achieved, and we still have large pay differentials between men and women, we still have women who have no access to water and sanitation, and a large number of women, for example, do not have access to basic funds for managing menstrual hygiene ...

Domestic violence is still epidemie and lot of European countries are against Istanbul convention

I believe that this should be one of the topics that will be given more attention ...

Also, ecological migrants are nowhere to be found and they should also be given some attention,

LGB also require commitment ...

For what dignity and equality we are talking ...

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Natasha, we all had that dream and high expectations of a better life for women.Unfortunately, issues like climate change 

armed conflicts and armement bloody race have

deepened women’s misery. Religious fundamentalism is by itself a threat to what has been achieved so far.

Now the challenge is how to consolidate reforms 

and how to address all emerging forms of violence 

Istanbul convention is an instrument among others which need to be adapted to become more friendly to young people . 

Natasha Dokovska • program director at Journalists for Human Rights from Macedonia

Dear Fatima Outaleb I fully agree with you and I believe that the Istanbul Convention is one of the tools, but we need more of these with a special emphasis on women migrants, for example. I also think that more attention should be paid to the sexual and reproductive health of women, as well as to the rural woman ... Equality is necessary at every level.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Natasha, 

As you mentioned, Equality is necessary at every level. How do you think that we can pay more attention the sexual and reproductive health of women, as well as to the rural woman?

Oumou Kelthoum • Chargé de genre at (FAO) Organizaciòn de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación from Mauritania

La plateforme d'action de Beijing en tant que cadre de référence pour le changement a indéniablement été un catalyseur de reformes tant juridiques qu'institutionnelles dans plusieurs pays.Ces reformes malgré leurs progrès, restent limitées selon les contextes. Contextes qui méritent d'être particulièrement pris en compte. Près de 25 ans après beijing l'égalité des sexes n'a été acquise nulle part au monde. Les engagements sont importants cependant prendre des actions concrètes pour leur mise en œuvre l'est encore plus.

Tout est à faire pour éviter que les recommandations qui sortiront de ce forum ne perdurent aux placards.

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Oumou Kelthoum, la mise en place des réformes demeurent un défi majeur dans tous les pays qui n’ont rien fait pour créer des structures ni de mesures pour la protection des droits des femmes ni pour la mitigation des risques . Je fais allusion aux centres d’hébergements qui ne sont toujours pas dans les priorités des politiques publiques.

A ce jour les associations de femmes qui gèrent ces centres ont des problèmes à assurer leurs fonctionnement

pensez vous mes amis que c’est la responsabilité de l’état ou c’est celle des associations de prendre en charge les victimes de violences??

Jayson Downer • President/Co Chair at MoGAVA /Gender Advisory Council from Jamaica

In Jamaica, GBV is still a major issue. It has been heavily spoken about as the Bureau of Gender Affairs here is on the forefront. I believe major stakeholder in advancing Gender Equality is the Church. For years there seems to be this code (written or unwritten) that men are superior to women and much of it comes from the traditional view of Christianity. Church Leaders now have the responsibility to properly re educate those who are mis - informed. 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

While you mentioned about the major stakeholder being the church. Do you mean to include the religions head as well? 

How do you think we can present this in the Tunis forum ?

Patricia Bradley • UN Representative at Women's Missionary Societyof the AME Church from United States

I would like to suggest we change our strategy to  achieve "Equality of Opportunity." 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Do you wish to share some more insights on this? So that it can also be presented in an innovative way in the Tunis Forum?

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

I think it will be good if someone takes the responsibility of posting a summary on weekly basis. This will make the catch up easier for people who had joined lat and will also help all make conclusions out of this discussion

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Zainab we will try to update you

zainab • مدير تنفيذي at جمعية زينب الخيرية from Syria

اتمنى ان نتشارك الخبرات في الافكار من قبل البلاد التي حققت و لو جزء بسيط من هذه الموساواة او العدل و ايضا بما يخص تمكين المرأة ان كانت بشكل عام او حتى خاص بمشاريع صغيرة لبعض السيدات

Everson Ndlovu • Lecturer at Institute of Development Studies- University of Science and Technology from Zimbabwe

The rural girl/woman remains dis-empowered, in  terms of education, decision making, access to land, still collects water from vast distances from the homes, and are currently at the mercy of the ravanges of climate change and other hazards. Th girl toilets in schools and homes are not women/girl friendly, menstruation remains taboo and a salient topic both at school and in the home. Education curricula do not embrace the right to menstruation. There are also lack of opportunities in terms of economic empowerment. And yet we discuss far broader issues affecting women, leaving out the very basis of womanhood. Strides have been made, but lets address these issues and poverty to ensure a liberated and an empowered woman. 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thanks for your inputs. How do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum?

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

Thanks Everson Ndlovu for highlighting these very basic and important issues but in my view these are the outcome of issues related to gender equity and gender equality. All these issues could be addressed by using a system where laws and policies are present and are implemented. The implementation of laws is the major problem in the countries like Pakistan and Zimbabwe and many other developing and underdeveloped countries.  

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Do you wish to share some more insights on gender equity and equality? According to you, what laws and policies should be strengthened or created during the Tunis Forum to achieve the goals we wish to see? 

Heba Katoon • Communications and Advocacy Consultant at UNDP from Egypt

Hi all, I really enjoyed reading all your insightful comments and suggestions! Here are some points to add to the conversation:

  1. Economic or financial abuse should be considered as a type of domestic violence. The declaration only refers to physical, sexual and psychological forms of violence against women. I suggest including a session that covers its definition, forms, why it matters, how it affects workforce and economy, facts and figures, and what to do if your partner is abusing you financially.

  1. In ‘Women and the Media’ section of the declaration, the Platform for Action states the importance of “Promoting a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media”. Yet, this is not sufficiently happening! It needs a plan that deals with the media as advocates, rather than tools for visibility and outreach. A plan that embraces long-term collaborations with media institutions as key partners for gender equality! Furthermore, Media must be well informed about gender sensitive and inclusive coverage to be able to end stereotyping and prioritize gender issues amongst the general public.

  1. It’s not a suggested topic but rather; an enabler! I noticed that the actions throughout the declaration are categorized to be taken by: governments, national machineries, civil society, international organizations, and sometimes the media. However, we should consider adding strategic effect multipliers such as celebrities, influencers, and youth leaders to amplify our messages through partnerships that engage their own audiences along with clear advocacy toolkits.

  1. One of the vital questions that should be asked is: How can we measure behavioral change after those 25 years? Social scientists seeking to measure attitudes or behaviors were largely limited to collecting data through surveys or experiments conducted in artificial settings. But with the rise of data-driven sensors, we can explore how modern digital tools and methodologies can be harnessed to measure—and change—human behavior, and to design better interventions, programs, campaigns, and policies.

  1. Working in academia for years before joining the UN, I noticed that university undergrad students know very little about gender equality, the SDGs, and international human rights resources. We need more collaboration with academic institutions and ministries to embrace gender equality aspects in both curriculums and extracellular activities.

  1. As some of the comments stated, I fully support engaging men and boys in the discussion about gender equality! A good example that I am proud to take part in was the IMAGES MENA study. We further used its findings to initiate evidence-based advocacy campaign that promotes the positive role of men and end toxic masculinities. Long way to go!

  1. It’s worthy to discuss Public Health Informatics to learn more about systematic application of information, computer science, and technology to public health practice, research, and learning. How to build public health information systems for gender-related health issues such as breast cancer, FGM, reproductive health, domestic violence survivors, trauma, etc along with success stories of such projects worldwide.

I am adding few experts’ contacts for the above points in the form if needed.

Regards and good luck J

Heba

Alicia Deus • from Uruguay

La educación y los cambios culturales para la igualdad, parecen ser  imprescindibles.  

El desafío es que desde las políticas públicas  se reconozca y se considere realmente  como un problema prioritario y se destinen recursos, tanto económicos como humanos para su atención integral. En general, por el contrario, si bien muchos países cuentan con leyes contra la violencia, su implementación resulta insuficiente y siempre hay otras prioridades. Se considera un tema "colateral"  y no central en la sociedad. No se analizan en profundidad ni se atacan las causas que la originan y por tanto,  apenas se atienden sus consecuencias sin políticas reales y efectivas de prevención. 

Alicia Deus • from Uruguay

Perdón, se me cortó la primera parte del mensaje. Me refería a que   de los múltiples comentarios desde la visión de personas de países y regiones muy discímiles, sin embargo, aparece como una problemática común,   la violencia hacia las mujeres. Muchos países cuentan con leyes para poner fin a la violencia y no obstante las cifras de feminicidios , de delitos sexuales contra las mujeres y las niñas y de violencia intrafamiliar,  siguen creciendo de manera alarmante.  

Libertaria J.P • Directora at Haurralde Fundazioa from Spain

Al hilo del  comentario que realiza  Alicia desde Uruguay.  He trabajando y trabajo en  algunos países Africanos ( Mozambique ,  Burkina Faso) y en Latinoamérica  y Caribe ; 25 años después de Beijín  una cantidad  importante de países ha regulado  y avanzado en legislación  que protege a mujeres , niñas. En temas de violencia,  acoso laboral,  político, sexual,  representatividad  política y paritaria, prevención de  FGM  ( mutilación genital  femenina);  acceso a aborto libre y gratuito y seguro , leyes sobre diversidad sexual,  mobbing ;  matrimonios gay y  lesbiano, y un largo etc ya que seguro me dejo muchos temas importantes en el camino. 

Algunos países  más que en otros ha legislado y han intentado  poner en practica esas legislaciones. Algunos con mas atino que otros. 

Pero si  soy consciente de que he vivido  y me he beneficiado  como mujer de esas  miradas de igualdad , de las que  no han podido beneficiarse ni mi abuela, ni mi madre. Sin embargo , parecería que a pesar de contar con  un Convenio de Estambul  en Europa , apenas puesto en marcha,  la Convención Belem Do Para, El Consenso de Montevideo,  La CEDAW, y una serie infinita de planes y estrategias  de igualdad y  de prevención… el escenario dantesco  sobre embarazos forzados,  feminicidios, explotación  sexual y comercial;  violencia sexual,  violencia económica  y política, … nos deja  ante la necesidad de resinificar nuestras luchas.  Cómo  después de 25 años, podemos  conseguir  darle mayor fuerza  a Beijín ¿  y como desde un feminismo que si ha crecido y salido a la calle en masa, conseguir  mejorar  algo muy claro : la apuesta por los  DDHH de las mujeres y las niñas. Desde mi punto de vista, hemos perdido  y estamos perdiendo a NIVEL global en DDHH 

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

Thank you all for your feedback, thoughts and ideas that will definitely contribute to strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide

Practically all participants in this debate brought into view the limitations of the current agenda to end domestic violence and called for a transformative agenda that will address the root causes of the unbalanced power relationships between men and women .

Reactions also highlighted how marginalized girls and   women are challenged by perpetrating systems of inequity, inequality, violence and oppression that hinders optimal use of social protection systems , access to sustainable infrastructure for gender equality ,reproductive and sexual rights and the empowerment of women namely rural and disabled women.

 To galvanize the implementation of the  Beijing Platform for Action and the gender equality commitments of the SDGs to achieve equality by 2030 , comments raised women migration and displacement that should be included, analysed and developed. Climate change should also be addressed together with rural, disabled and indigenous women who are not at the top priorities of most countries policies and agendas.

Other issues like child maternity, rape, girls school drop , the prohibition of abortion and the stigmatisation of LGBT without mentioning violence against women which is still unsolved in every country are serious problems of inequity that constitute  barriers to the empowerment of women and girls .

Though much remains to be done and many objectives to be met , building alliances among women’s groups and involving younger generations in the elaboration of a new transformative agenda ,could galvanize efforts to hold local  government accountable to the Beijing Platform principles. The best example is that of the US cities which relied on local ordinances to reflect the principles of CEDAW and advance gender equality.

 More efforts should be made to involve men in advancing gender equality through their education on feminism, more balanced and diverse perceptions of masculinities. Intersectional approach to feminism and Human Right based approach   have to be at the forefront of our advocacy for  the eradication of GBV and for gender equality.

The new agenda has to consider the multiple ways in which women and girls are discriminated against and provide tools to implement the BPFA in a way that tackles the structural, systemic barriers to the full empowerment of women and girls

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

Fatima Outaleb Thank you for this summary. You have done a very good job and have included all the points raised. 

However I would like to add one more point which relates to the developing world. I think that the underdeveloped and developing world needs a separate agenda as their issues and cultures are different from the developed countries.

The other thing is that developing countries need more time for chang the mindset of people so the time frame should be longer (at least 20 years) after which we will be able to measure the changes in attitudes.

For this measurement there will be need to make very clear indicators so that the impact could be measured.

Prabha Khosla • Board Member of CRIAW-ICRWF at ReFocus Consulting from Canada

Hello All,

Many thanks for your thoughtful contributions. I would like to raise a few points that I feel are missing in the BPA. Specifically, I feel the focus on women and girls in cities is good but weak and considering that more human beings live in urban areas today than in the past, it would be worth bringing a sharper focus to the need for a stronger text and actions on women's rights and gender equality in urban areas and especially those women and girls experiencing intersecting inequalities. This focus is also critical today as we witness the tremendous impacts of climate change events in cities - i.e. areas with high concentrations of people. I am referring here to the impacts of flooding, high winds, storm surges, droughts, in cities and their severe impacts on the lives and livelihoods of low-income women. A few points are highlighted below in unpolished language:

1. Women’s right to adequate housing in cities.

2. The need for gender-responsive design and accountability of urban public infrastructure and services to the needs of women and girls in cities – such as access to safe portable water, toilets in their homes, sanitation systems, drainage, solid waste management, energy, electricity, etc.

3. The need to focus the built environment on the safety and security of women and girls and other minorities in cities in terms of public transportation, roads, public spaces, planning and design, etc…

4. We need to strengthen the focus of public infrastructure and services that reduce women’s unpaid care work in cities and how services such as quality and educational universal childcare services should be a core function of local and metropolitan governments.

5. At the city (local) and the national level, better dis-aggregated data collection for evidence-based decision making in cities. Locally relevant dis-aggregation such as on the basis of sex, age, race, ethnicity, class, indigeneity, location, ability/disability, caste, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, etc.

6. Encourage the use of gender-responsive budgets for gender equality and justice in policies, programmes and budgets.

7. Recognizing that local governments are patriarchal institutions, focus on structural changes in local governments so that the way decisions are made and resources allocated are gender-inclusive and recognise intersecting inequalities in all aspects of urban governance and management.  

8. A stronger focus is needed on working women in urban environments and their precarious working conditions, as well as rights and benefits, etc. Recognition of domestic workers and informal sector workers and rights and protections for them.

Just a few points to illustrate what could be strengthened.

Prabha

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Very insightful recommendations. Many thanks!!

Moneera Yassien • Founder (AMNA organisation) at AMNA organisation

I believe with all the efforts made to advance the status of women, our everyday realities as women tell how little is the magnitude of change these efforts made. Yes, women are having a better status in communities compare to the past, but still, we are not in an optimum situation, not even close to being! 

For the new agenda, we need to advocate and work toward a full transformation in social contexts which for so long have been the main constraint in advancing women's status. In fact, we are in need of a new social contact aligning with the needs of this era, our societies should be restructured to be more inclusive and be build beyond the basic gender roles. 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

What do you think should be done that can be presented in an innovative way at the Tunis forum? How can we make our societies more inclusive? This is interesting. 

Moneera Yassien • Founder (AMNA organisation) at AMNA organisation

Hey Sailesh Singhal 

I mentioned the following at another discussion:

I believe the sessions should go out of the discussion scope to be more practical and action-oriented discussions. I suggest that each session should look at the topic on three pillars:

  • What is the problem from the participant's personal observations?
  • What is reality tell us? show statistics and numbers about the issue 
  • Suggest ways to address/ actual solutions to the identified problems?  

I suggest to use some innovation tools, for example, design thinking, for example, I think it's a very flexible tool and can be adjusted in a way that would engage the participants on the setting of a workshop with specific themes, it can help them in empathize with problems related to the theme, define them in depth and even ideate actions for these problems/insights

Also, DIY https://diytoolkit.org/tools/ have many tools which could be adjusted and used for the sessions. 

S ann • from United States

Moneera Yassien, thank you for the link to the toolkit, very useful in project management, presentations and community organizing.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

From 1995,we had come a long way across many nations,of ASIA,Arabian Gulf,and Africa.There is no need to mention about other continents and nations,because some of them are tourch bearers.

Many educational institutions are making reservations up to 30% based on the concept of the govering policies of the party in power.There are also many service sector jobs,such as IT,IOT,Digital technology,Banking and education.

The changes in maternity leave,and reemployment of such women who left the jobs for some family reasons have helped in keeping and doubling the jobs and equality of women with men.

The fact is women also have surged by keeping their agony and ecastcy and standing in competative mode at many a times,if not all the times.

When in 1995 a concept was made,we still were with the 100-200 years of technologies.Let us accept,that except for new technologies of 4G,renewable energy,IT and IOT,the remaing engineering was mostly conceptualised from 1820 onwards.That is the railways,Cars,Petrol engines,thermal and oil gas energy etc.

Now though we are using in teaching the old engineering technologies,in fact multiple technologies are needed in production and management of many systems including banking.This shall make the society aware of the need to restructure the education to the social needs.

Why the social need?.In the changing concepts of climate smart and less carbon and nitrogen evolution during generation of electric power skill development is the need.The trainig for jobs in production,transport and farming  have to change,and such training has to stablize the productivity and shall lead to generate more and more employment in other sectors .

Unless more jobs are generated,the ever growing and increasing 7.7 billion population can not find sustainable living.This job less ness among genders is not what we are searching.Infact we want to create,educate and develop the skills,for meeting the future needs of the society.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you for your participation. So according to you should creation of more jobs lead to gender equality? How do you think we can engage youth or children in the development of skills for meeting the needs of the society? 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear colleagues and friends, 

I am very excited to take part as a co-moderator together for the Consultation's Discussion 1: Beijing to Beijing +25   to assess progress made in implementation and identify challenges encountered to achieve the agenda of gender equality and empowerment of women. 

I have read with interest your various postings during last week. Huge thanks to Fatima for her moderation last week and thanks to all of you for being part of this conversation.

We continue to say that 'gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is everyone business" yet the under prioritization, under funding and lack gender responsiveness in monitoring and evaluation continue to challenge progress. And this is reflected in all critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action. How do we ensure that this 25 year review becomes a golden opportunity for the world to unleash the potential of half of humanity and take accelerated steps forward in bridging the gender gaps as committed in the 2030 Agenda?

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

The postings by Moneera and Sarapalli are reminding us on the critical changes that the world have seen since 1995. There are new and greater challenges that most be addressed if gender equality is to be achieved. 

One of these ares of rapid change is in related to STEM. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its emphasis on science, technology and innovation as a critical enabler of sustainable development.

STEM developments are changing the world and they have direct gender equality impact. In the spirit the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, there are various pending challenges:

a.    women's equal and full participation and leadership in this labour market transformation and in the creation and securing of ‘new collar’ jobs;

b.    transforming the patriarchal spaces and culture of work of STEM institutions and businesses and making them more responsive to women and girls;

c.     women's participation and leadership on equal basis as men

d.    special measures—flexible working hours, childcare, parental leave, shorter work hours, incentives, motivational leadership and management, etc. to ensure that women and rise and make it to the top in the STEM industry.

How do we ensure that the policy making addresses these challenges in an effective manner? what other areas have emerged since 1995 and that need to be brought as priority into the 25 year review?

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Ms.Patrica,if we all remeber the ILO meeting happened this  mont out sde Geneva.All concerned have wrote on twitter that they are able to find  implemention of ILO recommendations is happening.With that we are sure that protecting te women dignity by providing classes for teaching and training as a continuation of living systems has to be accepted by societies,men and women.

Providing proper care for women and giving them advise and tips on menstrual hygiene is so important for a better future society.Similar systems are needed in educating them about drinking water and sanitation at houses.

The simple arguments of how the tall trees stand by them selves,by having deep roots,and have a stem[not the other STEM] of liner mould to stand aganist winds.To understand what was the Archimedis priciple in water and bouyency.These can be written in simple laungage so that it goes in to the very young minds.

If Science,Technology,Engineering and Mathametics can be taught in a proactive and imaginable way,it ges in to discoveries at latter years.

Nesmah Al-sameai • Financial Manager at Dialogue Debate Club from Yemen

There has been many changes in the world since 1995. Beijing +25 acted as the first detailed road map to the journey of gender equality. However, time has brought new variables to the surface. The massive development in internet and technology. . New wars and conflicts raised. The refugees crisis .. etc. In my perspective, it is been years since our road map stopped fitting. I don't deny that Beijing +25 was really rich, detailed, one of its kind at that time and through lets say 15 years. But the new variables have made it urgent to work with updated one. We have to collabrate efforts to work on two parallel roads working with governments to changing local and countries laws to support women's rights ,and creating the proper environment to women in order to be able to demand their rights granted by the laws. In countries like Yemen where war and conflict have affected the weal of gender equality improvements, there were limited laws supporting women equality which affected the ability to make any noticed progress in the feild. In order to achieve 2030 we have not to work only with the existing problems of gender equality. We must focus on analyzing and predicting the ones that may emerge through the upcoming 11 years till 2030.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Thank you dear Saripalli Suryanarayana .. I agree that simple supplies specially the ones that relate to hygiene can make a huge difference. Menstruation continues to be one of the main reasons why they’re missing from classrooms. Safety in bathrooms and the way to go back and forth home to schools is also a disempowering factor. Investing in menstrual hygiene management, including in eliminating taxes to, and reducing the cost of sanitary products and ensuring safety and protection in public spaces are critical steps to furthering the gender equality goal.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Yes,Thank you.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear colleagues and friends, 

I am eagerly waiting for your active participation in this very interesting discussion. 

The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will be a golden opportunity to push the frontiers in terms of granting commitments for the accelerated of the platform and also to mobilize new commitments specific to the current context. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has to guide our ask in our advocacy work to reflect the needs of the 21st century. The millennials and generation Z were not born or were very young at the time of the Fourth World Conference. We need to ensure that the outcome of the forthcoming review and appraisal reflect their reality and their needs and voices. I hope some young participants can help us on furthering this conversation. 

Warmest regards, 

Patricia 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

oneera Yassien for example refers to the needs of the new era... those that were not reflected in the BPfA and that contribute to hold women back in society. Can you people help us identify what are these new needs and help us proposing some policy recommendation to tackle them?

Nesmah Al-sameai • Financial Manager at Dialogue Debate Club from Yemen

What has changed over the 25 years is that now youth voices matters and are considered. I believe women and environment, women and technology are two important emerging topics that are wild and have to be discussed. World is suffering. There were alot of climate changes over the couple years, this on the long basie leads to shortage in resources and whenever we have this women are the victims. More attention to women and environment, and how we can make them capable to get their share of resources and make the able to become environment leaders.

Moneera Yassien • Founder (AMNA organisation) at AMNA organisation

We need the next generation to learn about The Platform for Action from an early age, why don't we insert the BPfA in our educational curriculum as a way to influence the change in society?

for this era, we need to communicate these declarations to the people so they can monitor and be part of the institutional agreements, let's advocate to have think tanks, innovation labs...etc to work toward implementing the framework on national, regional or international levels, and for that, governments should work hand by hand with the civil society. 

Moneera Yassien • Founder (AMNA organisation) at AMNA organisation

One other thing to be considered for this era is the use of intersectionality as an analytical framework to make sure that future resolutions on women acknowledge and understand that women situations vary and they are affected by patriarchy in different manners, therefore should be addressed differently. For example, Violence against Women could take different forms from a social, religious, ethnics contexts to another. 

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Winters can be long and harsh in Syria, especially for the millions of families who are displaced and don't have adequate shelter or clothing.That's why USAID - US Agency for International Development is working with IOM - UN Migration . That is what comes on facebook.So the Natural Hazards as depicited by NASA says summer today in South Hemi Spheare is very very hot,with increased temperatures.It will be same for us also.

Preparations have to be to preserve Drinking water.Produce more food and spend less water in Irrigation[FAO].Keep Airconditions and heaters at barest minimum requirement.That reduces carbon emissions.

Valentina Osorio • Líder de desarrollo at Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia from Colombia

Dear Patricia and world wide friends,As a millenial and from my visión of Latin America I want to share some concerns that I have detected around my community as well as issues that worry me looking into the future. As several women have mentioned above I too share a concern about protecting women that have been forced to migrate. In Colombia women from our neighboring country Venezuela have had to come here seeking refuge but have found themselves in vulnerable positions that put them at risk.

A second concern I have is regarding strengthening relationships with men that can become advocates of gender equality, particularly men in key positions that frequently come in contact with sensitive touch points of and assaulted women's journey if she seeks help of if she decides to press charges. I’m referring to police officers, nurses and doctors that an assaulted woman may come in contact with because our current laws may offer women protection but the truth is that when a woman wants to effectively use said protection she is disencourage to do so by said professionals.

The final element that I want to point our is a deep concern for how future technology and innovation may increase and widen gender inequity if we don't understand it and if it lack regulation that ensures a responsible effect on the larger gender equality agenda. An example of this can be seen in Artificial Intelligence algorithms that have reached a point where any business can easily implement them but we are yet to regulate the data that is used to train these algorithms and the most commonly used data is historic data that comes with historically attached gender disparity.  Can we guarantee that data used to train algorithms complies with fair representation of women's rights or are we going to keep perpetuating effects like the gender gap teaching algorithms to keep choosing men over women in job environments just because that's the data that was feed into it.

Happy to continue this Discussion , 

Valentina Osorio

SOFIA slami • Founder at Houwa_Li_Hiya from France

As a Young Citizen of 25 years old (yes, almost like Beijing +25), it’s very important for me to be part of this new chapter we are preparing for the world.

I believe in one thing which in primordial in any country development : power of youth.

Unfortnetly, in some countries, we don’t have the culture of youth participation in the development process. And this is the biggest challenge : excluding « THE » solution to resolve the problem.

Also, we have never been educated to share our ideas, opinions, projects to improve our econimical, social et political situation.

As a moroccan, I know that most people in my country ignore a lot about their rights/ obligations and even more about international human rights disposal. Maybe because the priorities are different ( poverty, education, security…)

That said, I m sure that involving the young citizen to build an action plan with stakeholders and polical will create a big difference.

« Think local act global » should be the reference as we know that we don’t have an homogeneous world and each country has its specificities and is by himself a case study

It would be great if counties includes citizen to realize this plateform goals. Not only women, because at the end, it’s not a « femal problem » only but a Human challenge that needs to be considered by men and boys also.

Mouvement like #MeToo and #Masaktach in Morocco are representing a revolution due to Social Media influence and impact to promote new ways of gender equality denunciations. We just have to avoid amalgams and sterile debates.

Finally,  I think we need to rethink this plateform to act together for the common cause but with the best way that match our cultural referential of human rights to make it relevant.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Sofia,

Thanks a lot for your contribution and also for affirming the importance of the Beijing Platform for Action to a young woman like you. Your voice is critical to identify and understand the gender equality challenges of the new generation. Please help me to mobilize participation of your networks so to be able to capture their voices, needs and aspirations for the Beijing + 25 process. 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Valentina Osorio

Many thanks for your contribution. You have highlighted the issues of migrant women, Men and boys and innovation and technology. Yes, I totally agree there has been a huge change in those areas since 1995. Migrant women have since 2000 become half of migrant workers and played a key role in their communities. Through remittances they contribute to poverty alleviation, local economic development and even employment generation. Yet they continue to be vulnerable in their human rights in their migration journey and the gender considerations are yet to be fully addressed in all the international efforts related to migration regulations. Ideas on go to go about this can be found at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2018/12/news-migrant-women-at-the-centre-of-the-global-compact-for-migration

Men and boys is broadly recognized a critical strategy to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women. Examples of UN Women’s strategy to mobilize young and boys in support to gender equality cause can be at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/youth/engaging-boys-and-young-men-in-gender-equality. In our HeForShe webpage, there is also a lot information on how to mobilize male support to gender equality https://www.heforshe.org/en

Technology and innovation is another area that has witnessed huge changes in the last 25 years. The Commission of the Status of Women dedicated its 62nd session to the issue of women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. I am sharing here the agreed conclusions which you may want to consult as you think on areas that need further and strengthened efforts if gender equality is to be achieved:  http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/csw/61/csw-conclusions-61-web.pdf?la=en&vs=5452

I want to also raise de issue of gender – based stereotypes and harmful cultural norms and practices and their impact on preventing women to fully exercise their human rights. Any thoughts?

Thank you and look forward to your engagement!!

Patricia

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

I definitely agree that we have to address gender stereotypes which often harm women and girls worldwide. Being a woman in our Arab  region can be regarded as a disadvantage and often leads to human right violations .Men are favoured when it comes to work or education opportunities or in the justice system. Girls though equally qualified as men still find it very difficult to be appointed in the top organizational positions.

People have wrong perceptions about women competences to take up challenging courses or jobs. In certain countries, women cannot work at night or in factories that are male domineering spaces.

 The majority of Moroccans for example in rural areas think that a girls safest zone is with her husband not at school .Early marriage rate is still high and girls themselves adhere to the idea of marriage for fear to be left unmarried.

Stereotypes are visible in different ways in different situations. Women are expected to behave  and dress in certain manner. In cases of rape, women are often blamed and held responsible either because of their dressing or because they broke the community’s social codes. I remember, several cases in Morocco big cities where men went to the extent to strip off young women because they felt they were wearing short skirts or dresses. Women activists are often associated with prostitutes .

The challenge is how to shift from stereotypes that use women as commodities and reproductive partners ,to societies where women are fairly and equally represented and treated

Cathy • Consultant at Huairou Commission from United States

Fatima Outaleb "The challenge is how to shift from stereotypes that use women as commodities and reproductive partners, to societies where women are fairly and equally represented and treated?"

I think that one aspect in addressing the challenges of stereotypes of women is looking at our messaging. I have learned from my work in the political arena for more than 25 years that communications is not just expressing our voices, but also using talking points that will encourage listening of the party we are trying to influence.

I have found that in advocating for gender equality, using the messages of women as economic resources often resonates better with men and local governments. According to The World Bank - Women, Business and the Law 2108 report, countries with fewer barriers to women working consistently show higher per capita incomes that contribute to local and national economic health and improved well-being of families. In advocating for women in the workforce, we end up indirectly addressing laws that guarantee that women can sign contracts, open bank accounts and get credit, independence in travel, expand property rights, safety from sexual harassment in the workplace and need for gender appropriate bathroom facilities, etc. Advocating women as economic drivers also promotes education of young girls and shows that given the same opportunities as young boys, can also contribute to the family's well-being.

I am not saying that we stop addressing the issues presented in the BPA in other ways. I am raising awareness to considering the audience we are trying to impact when determining our messaging on an issue.

Lorena • PhD student at Seoul National University

Dear All, 

One topic that I find interesting to address and deepen could be the public policies oriented to increase female leadership.  Although some measures have already proposed in the short-term, I think we failed to discuss long-term strategies such as:  (1)   to learn   us to be strong to accept criticism instead of being perfect to 'avoid such criticism,' (2) how to incorporate women at an early age into issues related to R&D, innovation, and entrepreneurship; (3) The women creation of  long-term plan to  be autovalent and autonomous over lifetime

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Excellent questions dear Lorena!!

Dear colleagues and friends, do you know of any new particular practices / measurements that we can learn from to boost women in leadership positions in all areas and particularly in the private sector? Please share with us your insights. 

Olin Thakur • Moderator @UNSocial500; Co-founder at CISCD - Center for Inclusive & Sustainable Community Development from Nepal

Even 24 years later, the beijing's  platform for action with its 12 critical areas of concern remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration.  Commitments were made by states but commitment is one thing and being accountable is another.

Some issues that I would like to highlight are:

better data for better decisions(there is still no consistency in data and lack of sufficient and accurate data hinders our interventions) Data-driven decision-making & evidence based practice is crucial. the capacity of statistics bureaus in developing countries too need to be enhanced.

holding each country's government accountable on their commitments.and tracking progress of each country's on sdg5

back then in countries like Nepal, private sectors staff ratio based on gender wasn't of much focus now private organizations also should be encouraged and held accountable in maintaining gender balance in their staff ratio

by gender equality and social inclusion (gesi) it seems like we didnt equally focus on quality and quantity and focused more only on quantity. and the consequence is even if there is a huge progress in women's representation in governance structures and within the political parties structures, women still don't have a voice or decision making power.we also need to focus on the capacity aspect and enhance their capacity and leadership skills through  political leadership development.

we focused on violence against women but not much focus on VAW in political sphere.

reducing gender pay, earnings and pension gaps and fighting poverty among women.

developing policies to enhance women's ownership in land and other financial resources as well as reducing gender gaps in digital and financial inclusion.

-increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence

recognising , reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work at home by women.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Thanks for your contribution dear Olin. 

holding each country's government accountable on their commitments and tracking progress of each country's on sdg5, why is it that disaggregating data continues to be a challenge?

Also where there is available data disaggregated by gender among others, does it have a direct effect in improving accountability? How can we ensure that evidence-based planning actually generates gender equality results?

Juliana Ramirez

Patricia Cortes About government's accountability, there is no way to achieve that without proper budget. Take the case of Colombia, where the Presidential Council for Equality of Women has practically no budget. This limits any public initiative and it harms data collection. 

Frances Guy • Gender Advisor (UNDP) at UNDP from Jordan

I wondered if I might raise the issue of family planning and reproductive rights as one that needs a space in the Forum in Tunis and which remains an issue of contention even 25 years after Beijing.  Many in Tunis would support the view that the state family planning policy introduced in 1967 played an extremely important part in encouraging greater equality in Tunisia.   In contrast the decrease in the availability of contraception in countries of conflict has added to the stresses on families and on women in particular.  The numbers of women dying in childbirth throughout the world remains too high.  Could we dare imagine improved reproductive rights for all for the next 25 years? 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Definitively!! I agree and even more, backlash is seen more often in relation to sexual and reproductive rights than in any other area. Access to family planning, safe abortions, protection / education related to health, and the prevalence of unbalanced relations between women and men continue to prevent women from full and free enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights. This leads to unwanted pregnancies, maternal morbidity, sexually transmitted infections, among other disempowering factors that prevent women to life to her full potential. How can we advance towards strengthening the Reproductive Rights Agenda? Are there good practices that participants would like to share with us?

Juliana Ramirez

There is a related topic and often unseen: obstetric violence. In some countries, such as Chile, France, Brazil, there is some advance with civil organizations bringing up this problematic (see https://ovochile.cl/ for example). This matters a lot: it is a commonly accepted violence that most of the women don't even identify, it harms them and the kids. Traditional cultures, indigenous practices and different organizations offer a lot of information on alternatives that prove to be safe and nicer. 

Sangeet Gopal Kayastha • Coordinator at Y-PEER Asia Pacific Center Bangkok from Nepal

Some states in the region even do not recognize SRHR ( Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights), so it have to be renamed as SRH&RR as many countries don't want to link Rights apart from reproductive rights.

It may be a good platform to initiate. Also innovations from youths or CSO, how they are working in countries addressing it.

RYM • Assistant representative at UNFPA from Tunisia

I cant agree more Frances . Yet, today and after 25 years of ICPD (International Conference of Population and Development) and Beijing , the world still has a long way to go to realize the human rights-based vision of the ICPD and Beijing. Human rights are violated every time a girl is married before reaching adulthood, every time a woman is denied access to quality maternal healthcare and family planning, every time a woman or a girl is subjected to violence of any kind, and every time an individual is unable to freely decide whether, when or how often to have children. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are increasingly under threat around the world, jeopardizing the gains made over the past two and a half decades in advancing women’s health, rights and empowerment as well as gender equity. In the face of this pushback, it is more important than ever to ensure that Sexual and Reproductive health and rights are solidly anchored in human rights.

The gender forum, is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of ensuring universal access to reproductive health services including family planning and promote sexual and reproductive rights as a corner stone of implementing the Beijing platform and ICPD plan of action and therefore SDGs. Both in development and crisis contexts, many success stories, challenges and lessons learned has shown that reproductive rights are key for gender equality and women s' empowerment . Tunisia is one of  the successfull country in the arab region  that, since the independancy  has realised that FP / Reproductive rights are very much linked to women rights and vice versa. Yet , this achievement is not garanteed at hundred percent in a sustainable way . The community should be very vigilent to maintain these achivements in fragile contexts . 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Frances, 

Thank you for raising one of those issues which is essential and crucial to flag up during the Tunis Forum? How do you think we can present this in an innovative way in the Tunis Forum?

Waajid Hussein • Social Researcher at Non govermental organisation from Mauritius

First of all, I find that there are so many positive comments towards gender equality and I hope that all our messages and articles shall produce its fruit one day.

Let me start for the focusing point in the first question. The fact that today the majority of the population in most developed countries and developing countries are conscious that gender equality is a boon for the smooth running of the society. They also agree that men and women need to be treated fairly as this form part of human rights. But when there is an approach to election and to elect an authority, we find that the population prefer a male rather than a female. Thus there is a big question mark why there is a double face? According to my analysis in my country and articles in international journals, I think that we must concentrate of how to make women to appear in the society frequently in order to obtain a popularity. We need to agree to agree that when it comes to popularity, women are always backward. The core solution which we need to focus in the Beijing objectives is how to make women visible in the decision making level at work place rather than concentrating in politics only. This is because, politics do bring popularity in a form of positive dignity and sometimes when errors are committed people begin to hate the politicians. However, if we concentrate of high position at work place, women shall take decision at their working level but media do play its role by broadcasting how women as CEO or Manager are taking sustainable decision. By this strategy, the popularity of the women will increase and people will be aware of the capacity. I take a simple example of "Late Steve Jobs" or Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), if he stands as candidate in an election, I bet that he will win. So if it was a woman in his place, I believe that she would get the same popularity.

2. The second part of the question: We should start to ponder upon:

1. WOMEN AND CLIMATE CHANGE. 

Women play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, and it is extremely important to make sure that this role is not only fully understood, but incorporated into an agenda.

From rising sea levels to drops in farming yields and urban floods, the impacts of climate change are being acutely felt by women. Women make up a large percentage of poor communities worldwide that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Successful action on climate change depends on the engagement of women as stakeholders and planners in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to adapt to and mitigate climate change. For example: 

Food preparation- We are all aware that across countries food preparation is done by women which requires household energy. In most developing countries and emerging economies, women use cook stoves that rely on solid fuels such as biomass (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung) and coal as their primary source.

The use of these dirty solid fuels contributes to harmful emissions of carbon dioxide and black carbon (soot), destructive agents that perpetuate climate change. In addition to the adverse climate effects, reliance on solid fuels means women spend a significant amount of time collecting fuel. The health and environmental impacts of unclean fuels and inefficient technologies can be devastating for women and children, who usually spend more time in the home. 

2. AGEING POPULATION AND GENDER EQUALITY

Many women around the world are unaware of the financial risk they face that is a financial risk brought about by the ageing population

Across the globe, about two thirds of informal care for frail older people falls to female relatives. Men are also carers, but women do this work more often, both in developed and developing countries, in every culture. Even where a woman has work outside the home, she does this task more than to become the direct carer for the frail older people in their family.

In patriarchal societies, caring work is of lower status than work outside the home and is allocated to women. In cultures with established social and legal gender equality, it still makes economic sense in any family for a lower paid person, which is more usually a woman, to give up work to do any unpaid caring. In addition, there are cultural norms that allow women to do personal carer for both males and females, where it would be unacceptable for a man to do intimate care for a woman.

Thanks

LALLMOHAMED WAAJID

MAURITIUS

 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Lallamohamed,

Three very important issues you have raised: women in leadership positions an this related to how they are portrayed in the media, the issue of climate change and its disproportional effect on women and the issue of ageing and higher vulnerabilities that women face as they become older. All of this to me speaks of the continuum of discriminatory attitudes and women and girls face throughout the life cycle and in all spheres of life. And this is exactly why achieving gender equality is perhaps the greatest test to the SDG era. It was recognized as such in 2015 in the Sustainable Development Submit with the former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declaring that the new Global Goals could not be achieved “without full and equal rights for half of the world’s population, in law and in practice.” 2020 is a huge game changing opportunity to mobilize the kind of commitment and investment to ensure that both laws and practices and the implementation of concrete actions that will secure bold progress towards gender equality.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Wajid, 

Thank you for such a detailed and deep insights of your experiences. How do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum?

Milena Castellanos • Representante Legal at Corporación la Tribu. Organización para la investigación y el desarrollo social y cultural from Colombia

Estimados(as) colegas, junto con agradecer por la apertura de este espacio, deseo compartir algunas de las preocupaciones que he observado sobre las mujeres indígenas en las zonas urbanas y considero que deben ser tenidas en cuenta en el desarrollo de agendas internacionales y locales en pro de la equidad de género, la salvaguarda de los derechos colectivos e individuales de los grupos étnicos, que son sujetos de especial protección constitucional. Algunas de estas cuestiones son:

La normatividad internacional a favor de la protección de los derechos humanos de las mujeres niñas y niños específicamente, ha caminado paralela a los avances de los movimientos de mujeres y a la ocurrencia de eventos como los conflictos armados,  que provocan violaciones a los derechos humanos de la población en general, pero con mayor impacto en grupos poblacionales de alta vulnerabilidad como son las mujeres, niñas y niños.  Sin embargo, y a pesar que en el caso de Colombia se han ratificado tratados internacionales, convenciones etc., la situación de mujeres, niñas, niños en el marco del conflicto armado, ya sea por desplazamiento forzado, por pobreza, por razones de su participación en grupos armados ilegales, continúa siendo preocupante debido a las limitaciones en el ejercicio de sus derechos, pues además de las múltiples violencias que se ejercen contra ellas, las discriminaciones por razones de género, de étnia, por limitaciones físicas o por clase social entre otras, afectan sus vidas.

Asimismo, el Auto 092, da constancia de una serie de situaciones de vulnerabilidad, entre las que se encuentra: Que la situación de las mujeres, jóvenes, niñas y adultas mayores desplazadas por el conflicto armado en Colombia, constituye una de las manifestaciones más críticas del estado de cosas inconstitucional declarado en la sentencia T-025 de 2004, por ser sujetos de protección constitucional múltiple y reforzada cuyos derechos están siendo vulnerados en forma sistemática, extendida y masiva a lo largo de todo el territorio nacional.

No obstante, y teniendo en cuenta que el conflicto armado colombiano ha tenido una afectación recurrente, sistemática y diferencial sobre la población étnica, al igual que el desplazamiento forzado interno en el país con impactos profundos en las mujeres en general y en las mujeres indígenas en particular;  las acciones frente a la reparación integral de las mujeres que han sido víctimas de estas situaciones y que las han puesto en riesgo de violencia sexual, explotación sexual, psicológica y física, no han sido del todo estudiadas ni atendidas en el país y aún faltan esfuerzos para que sean prioridad dentro de los procesos de equidad de género.

Pese a los esfuerzos internacionales, nacionales y de las organizaciones de base, las instituciones aún requieren de mayores esfuerzos para incluir en los procesos de atención psicológica, económica, social y de salud, la perspectiva diferencial para comprender y atender a las mujeres indígenas que han llegado a las grandes ciudades víctimas del desplazamiento forzoso de sus territorios de origen y que las lleva a un mayor riesgo de vulneración de sus derechos fundamentales y colectivos, además de una posible revictimización. Asimismo, las niñas indígenas requieren una mayor atención para que sean reparadas integralmente, para lo cual también se requiere de mayores esfuerzos para la implementación de la normativa internacional y nacional de protección de las mujeres y de las niñas en el país.  

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Milena,

Thank you so much for raising the issue of indigenous women including in urban areas and in conflict related context. Displacement, ethnical background, income are certainly intersecting factors that put indigenous women in greater disadvantage. As you well suggest, urban planning should not turn their backs to the needs and demands from indigenous women living in urban areas.

Anju SHRESTHA (Awnu) • National Trainer & Core Member at Y-PEER NEPAL from Nepal

Answering your question, 

1. The focus should like on two aspects. Mostly we ask for the government for commitment and more commitments. Thus the focus also be on the things which they have committed and which they had completed/ongoing.

So it could be presented in ways like a) whats had been committed and completed/ongoing  b) what was committed by the government/governments  c) what are the things governments had not yet committed 

2. In last 25 years many things had changed. Definately all of the issues in 1995 are almost and equally relevant now. However, some of the issues had increase and are quite new which might be missing , left out or have to be focused more now. "Some examples are : Online Harrashments , Social Media and Privacy Issues of Women and Girls, Not only free education for girls quality education.  For example in my own country "NEPAL" , the enrollment of Boys and girls in school in early age is almost same but ones the classes are increased, the drop out of girls are higher than the boys. Before 25 years old the main cause or most cause might had been early marriage but when we reach 2019, the new causes might had been added such as " Lack of Sanitation " , Lack of not supportive environment and School related GBV.

Milena Castellanos • Representante Legal at Corporación la Tribu. Organización para la investigación y el desarrollo social y cultural from Colombia

Muchas gracias por tu aporte. Es cierto es necesario evaluar  cómo se han venido fortaleciendo la normativa internacional y nacional con base en las transformaciones de los fenómenos sociales como el desplazamiento o el acceso a la educación de los niños y las niñas como en el caso de tu país y más que eso ver cómo los gobiernos nacionales están asumiendo esos cambios y compromisos, y si no lo han hecho ver que posibilidades o propuestas se pueden generar para su efectivo cumplimiento.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Anju, 

As you mention, the core issue remains the same yet there is a variation from the subject at different levels. How do you  think we can present this in an innovative way yet have a visionary plan of action, which should address the possible issues of the next 2 decades at the Tunis Forum?

Milena Castellanos • Representante Legal at Corporación la Tribu. Organización para la investigación y el desarrollo social y cultural from Colombia

Estimados(as) colegas y amigos(as), aprovechando la riqueza de este espacio de discusión, quisiera poner algunas observaciones que considero deben ser tenidas en cuenta para la inclusión del enfoque de género en los procesos de DDR- desarme, desmovilización, reintegración y reintegración comunitaria en Colombia.

  • Las mujeres excombatientes “continúan siendo invisibilizadas para la sociedad pues no son tenidas en cuenta como sujetos de atención especial” (Schwitalla, G. y Dietrich, L.).
  • Persisten factores graves de violencia sexual basada en género, cometida por los combatientes contra las mujeres antes y después del proceso de desarme y desmovilización, lo constituyen numerosos actos de discriminación (Informe sobre mujeres combatientes y excombatientes - Relatora Especial de Violencia contra la Mujer, 2001)
  • Exposición a condiciones de vulnerabilidad, “al no poder encontrar empleo por ser desmovilizadas, corren el riesgo de prostituirse o de caer en las redes de tráfico de mujeres” (Guerrero, P. 2006), o las redes de tráfico que continúan vigentes en los contextos donde se reintegran.  
  • Madres cabezas de hogar. Las estadísticas a nivel nacional de la ACR en su Unidad de Reintegración Social, que para el mes de Junio de 2010, entre 30.120 participantes atendidos, registra que el 24% de las mujeres y el 8% de los hombres son cabeza de familia.    

Para contrarrestar estos riesgos, se hace necesaria y urgente que se construyan estrategias para la inclusión del enfoque de género en estos procesos, y espero que en este espacio podamos aportar a dicha construcción. Asimismo, para fortalecer la discusión, quiero resaltar algunos de los aportes del Secretario General del Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas (año 2000), a la hora de aplicar una perspectiva de género: "Es necesario prestar atención a la perspectiva del género en todas las etapas de operaciones de apoyo a la paz, o sea, desde las misiones de evaluación de las necesidades hasta las operaciones de consolidación de la paz después de un conflicto”

Es necesario reconocer en primera medida quién es el sujeto que se desmoviliza, cuál es su historia, las causas de su incorporación a los grupos armados, los impactos psicológicos de su permanencia y salida de los grupos; pues si “estas experiencias no se tienen en cuenta o se tratan como inadaptación social o con culpabilidad y rencor, se estará negando [a éstas mujeres] la posibilidad que entiendan esas experiencias en un contexto histórico y político y las acepten” (E/CN.4/2002/83/Add.3).

Sangeet Gopal Kayastha • Coordinator at Y-PEER Asia Pacific Center Bangkok from Nepal

1.  In 1995 , the main focus was to provide equal opportunities, education, etc to women as men. 

As the present context, we also have SDGs and other conventions which were agreed or ratified by many governments. For example, the targets mentioned by SDGs are more focused and Goal Orientated. Thus for some countries we can use this targets of SDGs to achieve the things which we dream in 1995. 

2. Key Issues that were missing in 1995 was the issues of LGBTI including Trans Women. Also the issues around the digital space, digital sexuality and safety was the missing part which can be added now.

Also the focus should be quality of services that are focused on women .

Milena Castellanos • Representante Legal at Corporación la Tribu. Organización para la investigación y el desarrollo social y cultural from Colombia

También se puede complementar incluyendo apuestas relacionadas con la interseccionalidad de género con otros aspectos fundamentales como la clase social, la étnia y la identidad sexual, en los cuáles hay un campo grande para construir propuestas y procesos de largo aliento.

Sandra Diaz • President, Marketer & Career Coach at DIAZ&CO Hispanic Experts from United States

Dear Patricia Cortes,

Here are some thoughts from a Gen X business practitioner leading the Economic Empowerment program at a faith-based organization:

1- While religions might have influenced gender inequities, many religious communities can be effectively engaged for change based on the tenets of their faith. Some topics are easier to champion than others - ex: easier to start the dialog for equal treatment of women based on God's design for men and women than lead with abortion rights.

2- While regulations are an important part of the mix, they are not a silver bullet. One strategy for closing the gender gap is to prove to organizations that equal pay is good for business. There are several studies and company case studies to back that up - see this FairyGodBoss article I wrote on why U.S. businesses benefit from closing the Latina wage gap and how to go about it. 

3- Gender discrimination and poverty go hand in hand. One interesting add-on to regulations would be to explore corporate and individual tax incentives for funding and developing poverty-alleviation solutions. And address not just economic poverty, but poverty of knowledge (especially technological) and of networking connections. Isolation leads to powerlessness which fuels gender-based violence.

Adema Sangale • Unstereotype Alliance at UN Women

We are so pleased to be part of this through the convening power of our Unstereotype Allliance - our private sector collaboration convened by UN Women.

We truly believe that it is through the common goals  of  public - private sector in addressing the needs of our citizens and consumers that we will be able to make meaningful change and impact on the world.

We would like to see the mission of the Alliance in breaking down gender-based stereotypes come to life across the world in diverse communities and countries. 

Amanda Watts • Teacher at Leuphana University from Germany

Thank you for the opportunity. Two points:

1. I think that economic inequality pushes in certain cases violence and therefore it is necessary to raise the petition to the Goverment to the right of every citizen as a member of society to have a "minimum income" that will allow, at least the minimum such as food, health and housing.

2. Education at all levels should be not only encouraged but mandatory, not only the technical but that about values ​​and spirituality without exclusion of religions. Intense learning in schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, multinational, goverments etc, about love, charity and tolerance.

Milena Castellanos • Representante Legal at Corporación la Tribu. Organización para la investigación y el desarrollo social y cultural from Colombia

Considero que también es importante que se discuta en este espacio el tema de la participación política de las mujeres indígenas en Latinoamérica. Quisiera destacar acá algunos de los elementos centrales de la participación de las mujeres indígenas en los cargos de elección popular en Chile, con el fin de ampliar la discusión que se puede generar. Estos son:

  •   La existencia de brechas de género y etnia para la participación política de las mujeres indígenas en el país. A nivel nacional, se observa una brecha étnica expresada en los menores índices de elegibilidad de la población indígena en los cargos de representación de mayor jerarquía y status (parlamentarios). A nivel municipal, hombres y mujeres indígenas tienen mayor acceso relativo, pero se expresa con fuerza una brecha de género. Los bajos índices de elegibilidad de las mujeres indígenas y no indígenas así lo evidencian, siendo éstos aún menores para las mujeres indígenas. Lo anterior da cuenta de la crónica baja representación femenina indígena en los cargos electorales a nivel nacional y local. Y entienden este fenómeno como un problema de desigualdad de género (Massolo, 2007). Asimismo, permite reconocer la pertinencia de la interseccionalidad como un referente teórico-metodológico adecuado para abordar las realidades y experiencias de vida de las mujeres indígenas, que permite develar la existencia de la articulación de desigualdades de género, etnia y clase desde la estructura de poder (Collins, 2000; Expósito, 2012; Nilsson, 2014). 

  • Pese a la brecha de género y etnia visibilizada en los espacios municipales, el concejo es el único cargo al que han podido acceder las mujeres indígenas en AR y RM. Y reconocer que aún, cuando sean pocos los cargos obtenidos por las mujeres indígenas como miembros de una minoría, ellas ganan representación en la arena política y afirman su identidad (Massolo, 2007). No obstante, la subrepresentación que tienen en la participación electoral, no es una condición presente en otros ámbitos de experiencias políticas. Las mujeres indígenas tienen una amplia participación en organizaciones sociales.    

  • Estrategias como la reforma del Sistema Binominal y la ley de cuotas se han instalado con el fin de favorecer la representación de las mujeres, no obstante, no hacen referencia a la participación de las mujeres indígenas. Cuestiones que se deben analizar para evitar que se aumente la distancia entre mujeres no indígenas y mujeres indígenas, al competir en desigualdad de oportunidades por los cargos políticos (Millapán, 2016).

  • Algunas dinámicas de los partidos políticos generan barreras de acceso que limitan la participación indígena femenina. No obstante, éstas no se han determinado aún como problemas prioritarios de investigación ni en la agenda de los estudios de género, ni en la de los estudios municipales (Saa, 1993; Bernal, 2006; Massolo, 2007; Ruiloba, 2014), tampoco se han priorizado en las agendas de los movimientos feministas.

  • Las desigualdades de género, etnia y clase son construcciones sociales, cuya articulación configura las experiencias de los sujetos de manera dinámica, fluctuante y cambiante durante todas sus vidas (Curiel, 2002). Estas pertenencias no tienen la misma importancia o al menos no la tienen simultáneamente. Si bien en todo momento hay una determinada jerarquía entre los componentes de las experiencias de una persona, esta no es inmutable, sino que cambia con el tiempo y modifica profundamente los comportamientos (Maalouf, 1999).
Esther • Founder at GROOTS Kenya from Kenya

 The Voice of Young Women - I  agree with the emphasis of Tunisia forum on giving a voice to young women and girls. In Africa, there are many courageous young women contributing to making the world better as activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, career professional, community volunteers e.t.c than before.   The Tunisia forum should thus offer a solid platform for young women in their diversity to voice their vision and change required so that the  world is able to  deal with ever increasing violence and inequalities based on gender, race and class.   Coming from Africa and having opportunities to work in very remote areas and with under  resourced  communities  in Kenya, I also know that making it possible for those in rural and informal settlements to participate meaningfully  require innovative ways and targeted investments. It is important that as the review and celebration of Beijing plus 25 kicks off,  we become innovative. In the run up to Habitat 11 Conference, many  dialogues happened in villages and slums all over the world.  Could this also be done for this process?

Tran generational Engagement - While the voice of young women is indeed very important,  the Beijing plus 25  must be committed to putting the agenda and voice of grassroots women including middle and elderly women at the centre of the discussion.  I was 26years old when I attended Beijing conference and  I was glad to witness the hard work of  these  women in preparation leading to the conference but also in the actual conference.   A reason why most people still consider the Beijing Platform for Action transformative.  Further, I am a  witness to the continuous  efforts these women make to sustain families and communities even when  administrative and political systems have failed. What lessons do we draw form grassroots women leadership in complementing states as we shape the agenda of many years to come

Esther • Founder at GROOTS Kenya from Kenya

The impact of Climate Change  and recurrent disasters was not a central issue 25 years ago. It would be in particular good to bring the issues of Gender, equality,   extractive of natural resources  and Climate change into the debate

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Thanks a lot dear Esther ... your voice and activism is always appreciated!!

Ghaida Bajbaa • from Saudi Arabia

Thank you the opportunity. As well for bringing this topic into discussion. 

First, I hope this topic will be addressed from M&E approach. And I am just emphasizing this just to bring the most out of the subject as this Biejing was a key document when it was created and still. However, there are several issues our world is dealing with today, and they are needed to be addressed: 

1- Migrant women 

2- Women and climate change 

3- Women and Business 

4- Legal empowerment of women 

5- New manifestations of violence against women

6- Gender cyberbullying 

I tried to make it short and in points, as the discussion is very very rich and many of the above mentioned points have been raised. Thank you very much for this valuable discussion and opening the platform. 

Best, 

Ghaida 

Meryem AGADI • Developer Manager at Moroccan Ministry of youth and Sports from Morocco

Dear Fatima, dear Patricia,

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to discuss this important issue, gender equality. I think we need to focus more on the situation of the girl since preschool so that she can accompany her throughout the integration process at the level of education, higher education, sport, research and development, and employment.In Morocco, it would be a question of valorizing the role of the woman at the level of the family first as a mother, as sister, as aunt or nourishing which is in all our homes.The woman needs to be accompanied, to be listened to and advised because it is she who helps us to build our present and future generations.

Looking forward meeting you in Tunis.

Best regards,

Meryem

Fatima Outaleb • Director (Union de l'Action Feminine) at Union de l'Action Feminine from Morocco Moderator

I do agree with you Meriem that there is still much to do when it comes to reproductive and health rights. Mortality numbers are alarming and access to health in many developing countries is not a priority .

Women need to be considered as individuals with all what it entails in terms of rights and duties .We cannot perpetrate certain social and biological roles to women who have proved to be as good as men in very challenging roles and positions and looking as women only as mothers or sisters is something we will have to change in the cultural perceptions and beliefs 

As you said,it goes through equal educational opportunities for both men and women,throughout training and empowering women’s human agencies and providing gender sensitive learning environment to girls from primary schools to universities and beyond.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Hi Meryem, 

Thank you for sharing your ideas with the group. The focus on the preschools and early childhood development is indeed crucial. Do you think there are any existing practises or solutions? Is there anything specific that you wish to be included in Tunis forum, however you would hopefully be present in the forum ?

Juliana Ramirez

Hi to all,

I am very glad to read this conversation. There are some ideas which I will like to emphasize or add. My view comes from a variety of experiences due to having worked in different sectors (government, NGOs, academy and, more recently, activism). 

1. It is clear that no unique strategy can lead to gender equality and that, instead, it is a complex mixture of variables that we need to play with (or spite of). In any case, I see a defining variable: motherhood. Everything comes to motherhood, especially when we are talking of women with less socioeconomic opportunities. All forms of violence, education, earnings, etc. We need to focus on preventing unplanned pregnancy, especially in poor or conflict contexts. For this, I want to highlight the importance of menstrual education. I read you were mentioning the importance of addressing period poverty, but every day I wonder how is it possible that so little of menstrual education is addressed, while we refer all the time to unplanned pregnancy and abortions, as if menstruation had nothing to do. It is a powerful tool. 

2. About violence: I read a lot of important points but I would like to add, or emphasize in one: the importance of teaching women how to live their bodies in autonomous and positive ways (not an easy task in the world we live in). However, out of my experience with women in feminist activism around our bodies, I have been able to see how important it is the way in which we relate to our own bodies in building safe relations. Of course, it is also necessary to work with the rest of the people, especially boys and men. And important to add: how can we press the media and publicity to add? Should there be legal ways too (apart from culture, education, public policy)? 

3. Just the way laws are insufficient by themselves, so are the efforts driven by institutions or NGOS. From my activism, I have seen how much is being done by women in Chile, far apart from institutions. I have some conclusions on this idea: 1) It is important to see the enormous team constantly working on gender equality apart from "us". 2) However, there is a lack of confidence from activists to institutional efforts. 3) Many activists lack capacities such as project design and implementation which limits their impact. 4) There is a need to strengthen local articulation between multiple actors. 

4. Women are doing a lot in conflict territories, many of them are environmental activists for their territories and communities. How do we see gender equality efforts in these complex globalization/local context? Do we want more girls living in rural areas to involve in STEM careers and have better chances, even if it against what a community sees as a "good life"? (This has a lot to do with indigenous women too). 

5. Last one: We need to protect women in conflict or migration contexts, and put special attention to pregnant women. I made my thesis on the long term effects of prenatal exposure to stress on their children's educational performance. I found a negative effect on the children performance in language-related areas, and this fosters inequality. 

And it comes back to motherhood again. Pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy. 

Thanks for the chance of taking part of this conversation.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Thanks a lot dear Juliana, please do let me know if I have captured well your contribution in the synthesis below. 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear colleagues,

With thanks for your insightful engagement in last week dialogue, I want to share with you the summary of the issues raised by you (please see below). Your feedback to this proposed summary is much appreciated and please do continue to engage.

This week, my colleague Vivek Rai and myself will lead jointly the discussion. Please help us to disseminate the Forum and this online discussion with your network and to engage new participants. We very much value your voices and contributions!!

Achieving gender equality is the greatest test to the SDG era.

Beijing +25 acted as the first detailed road map to the journey of gender equality. To date, the Beijing Platform for Action with its 12 critical areas of concern remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration. However, time has brought new variables to the surface. The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will be a golden opportunity to push the frontiers in terms of granting commitments for the accelerated of the platform and also to mobilize new commitments specific to the current context. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has to guide our ask in our advocacy work to reflect the needs of the 21st century. The millennials and generation Z were not born or were very young at the time of the Fourth World Conference. We need to ensure that the outcome of the forthcoming review and appraisal reflect their reality and their needs and voices.

During the discussion held between 8 and 15 February, new areas of concern identified include the following:

  1. New and challenging expressions of conflict
  1. Migration and refugee crisis

With so many migrant and refugee crises around the world, participants stressed the importance of recognizing of the devastating consequences that such crises generate for women and girls. When it comes to refugees, from food insecurity to loss of educational opportunities, lack of safe water or health services and adequate clothing in the extreme weather in winter and summer, violence against women, women and girls are facing the brunt of the crisis. Displaced and refugee women and children are put at risk of sexual violence as well as sexual, psychological and physical exploitation. Indigenous women and girls victims of forced displacement from their homelands face increased risk of violation of their fundamental and collective rights, as well as a possible re-victimization. Despite international, national and grassroots efforts, the institutions that are managing the response to displacement and refugees, still require ensuring a gender perspective is integrated increased in their programming efforts.

Migrant women have since 2000 become half of migrant workers and played a key role in their communities. Through remittances they contribute to poverty alleviation, local economic development and even employment generation. Yet they continue to be vulnerable in their human rights in their migration journey and the gender considerations are yet to be fully addressed in all the international efforts related to migration regulations.

  1. Women in new conflict situations or different new forms of conflicts

Conflict situations affect everyone but greater impact on vulnerable women and children (for example indigenous people) who face forced displacement, poverty and marginalization (examples of Syria, Colombia, Venezuela are mentioned by participants). Women in conflict contexts, especially pregnant women are at higher risk. The long-term effects of prenatal exposure to stress on their children's educational performance. Also, form the perspective of the DDR processes- disarmament, demobilization and Community reintegration, it is important to recognize the sexual and gender-based violence committed by combatants against women before and after disarmament and demobilization. Female ex-combatants remain invisible to society and at risk of falling into prostitution or trafficking networks women. Female ex-combatants often are single parents / heads of households. To counter these risks, it is necessary and urgent to ensure that Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and security is fully applied in all peace-building and peace-keeping processes and in all stages of operations supporting peace, that is, from assessment missions needs to operations of peacebuilding in post-conflict.

  1. Climate change and environmental degradation

Climate changes is a concern to participants. From rising sea levels to drops in farming yields and urban floods, the impacts of climate change are being acutely felt by women. Women make up a large percentage of poor communities worldwide that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. Successful action on climate change depends on the engagement of women as stakeholders and planners in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

In most developing countries and emerging economies, women use cook stoves that rely on solid fuels such as biomass (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung) and coal as their primary source. Women spend a significant amount of time collecting fuel. The health and environmental impacts of unclean fuels and inefficient technologies can be devastating for women and children, who usually spend more time in the home.

Women play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, and it is extremely important to make sure that this role is not only fully understood, but incorporated into the climate agenda.

  1. Sexual and reproductive rights

The issue of family planning and reproductive rights is seen as one that needs a space in the Forum in Tunis and which remains a contention even 25 years after Beijing. There is backlash in relation to sexual and reproductive rights. Access to family planning, safe abortions, protection / education related to health, and the prevalence of unbalanced relations between women and men continue to prevent women from full and free enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights. This leads to unwanted pregnancies, maternal morbidity, sexually transmitted infections, among other disempowering factors that prevent women to life to her full potential. Family planning policies play an extremely important part in encouraging greater equality. Yet the decrease in the availability of contraception in countries affected by conflict has added stresses on women in particular. The numbers of women dying in childbirth throughout the world remains too high specially in developing countries and yet it is not a priority.

Breaking the myths and stigma around menstruation

Breaking the myths / stigma around menstruation is critical. Menstruation continues to be one of the main reasons why they’re missing from classrooms. Safety in bathrooms and the way to go back and forth home to schools is also a disempowering factor. Investing in menstrual hygiene management, including in eliminating taxes to, and reducing the cost of sanitary products and ensuring safety and protection in public spaces are critical steps to furthering the gender equality goal. Also, if we need to focus on preventing unplanned pregnancy, especially in poor or conflict contexts menstrual education is key and yet it remains a highly neglected area. Providing proper care for women and giving them advise and tips on menstrual hygiene is so important for a better future society. Training on drinking water and sanitation management at home is also critical.

  1. The massive development in internet and technology

Technology and innovation is an area that has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. Participants expressed concerns on how future technology and innovation may increase and widen gender inequity if proper regulations are not in place. This can be seen in Artificial Intelligence algorithms which if not well regulated and managed can be based on data that is historically attached gender disparity. It is important to guarantee that data used to train algorithms complies with fair representation of women's rights.

Also, participants highlighted that gender equality continues to be a challenge in science and technology. Despite these advancements, there is still a low proportion of women graduating and pursuing STEM careers worldwide which affects negatively employment and productivity of women in science and increases occupational segregation with women under-represented in the sciences. Girls and young women today are interested in STEM. There is a good opportunity to promote that girls chose fields like science, engineering, or math in their professional paths through managing and allocating resources, programs, educational opportunities, granting connectivity and equal access to decision-making to young women and girls. It is important to support and promote diversity and to overcome disadvantages and stereotypes.

  1. The lenses of intersectionalities as analytical framework

Participants recommended the use of intersectionality as an analytical framework to ensure that the outcome of the review and appraisal acknowledge and understand that women situations vary and that they are affected by patriarchy in different manners, therefore should be addressed differently. Recognizing the diversity of society. There is one homogeneous world and each country has its own specificities and realities.

  1. Youth

“As a Young Citizen of 25 years old (yes, almost like Beijing +25), it’s very important for me to be part of this new chapter we are preparing for the world.”

The Beijing + 25 is a great opportunity to leverage the power of youth to ensure progress towards development. The world continues to lack the culture of youth participation in the development process. Most people including young people ignore their rights/ obligations. Youth are never been educated to share their ideas, opinions, projects to improve their own economic, social et political situation. And this is the biggest challenge: excluding «THE» solution to resolve the problem. Involving the young citizen in partnership with other stakeholders, in building priority actions will create a big difference.

We need the next generation to learn about the Platform for Action from an early age, for example by inserting the BPfA in our educational curriculum as a means to influence the change in society. Young please should play a role in monitoring and being part of the institutional agreements, advocating to have think tanks, innovation labs...etc. to work toward holding governments accountable for implementing the BPfA in partnership with civil society and the youth.

The Voice of Young Women should be listened in the Tunisia forum. In Africa, there are many courageous young women contributing to making the world better as activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, career professional, community volunteers, to name a few.  The Tunisia forum should thus offer a solid platform for young women in their diversity to voice their vision and change required so that the world is able to deal with ever increasing violence and inequalities based on gender, race and class, and making it accessible to those from remote and under resourced communities.

  1. Ageing women

There is a continuum of discriminatory attitudes that women and girls face throughout the life cycle and in all spheres of life. Many women around the world are unaware of the financial risk they face when they are out of the job marked and which prevents them to access social security or to build a pension fund. Also, across the globe, about two thirds of informal care for older people is women’s responsibility. In patriarchal societies, caring work holds a lower status and often allocated to women mostly in unpaid, informal and with very low wages conditions.

  1. Indigenous women

Indigenous women’s rights were raised by different participants. One intervention spoke about the situation of indigenous women in urban areas and the need to take them into account in the development of international and local agendas towards gender equality, the protection of individual and collective rights of ethnic groups, which are subject to special constitutional protection.  Displacement, ethnical background, income are certainly intersecting factors that put indigenous women in greater disadvantage. Urban planning should not turn their backs to the needs and demands from indigenous women living in urban areas.

  1. Grassroots women

The Beijing + 25 must be committed to putting the agenda and voice of grassroots women including middle and elderly women at the centre of the discussion. A reason why most people still consider the Beijing Platform for Action transformative is because it was built in an inclusive manner and with great participation of grassroots women leadership in complementing states as we shape the agenda for the many years to come.

  1. LGBTI nends and rights

Key Issues that were missing in 1995 was the issues of LGBTI including Trans Women. The Beijing + 25 review and appraisal is the opportunity to bring their voices into the conversation. In this Tunusia Forum can set the standard.

  1. Men and boys

Men and boys is broadly recognized a critical strategy to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women. Strengthening the relationship with men that can become advocates of gender equality is critical, particularly when it comes to men in key decision-making positions.

  1. Persistent inequalities
  1. Violence against women

Today there is a lot more attention on domestic violence and sexual violence than in 1995, yet there is less of focus on violence against women in the political sphere. We need to pay attention to the new manifestations of violence against women, for example the gender cyberbullying. Obstetric violence is often unseen. Police officers, nurses and doctors assault women especially those from marginalized communities as a commonly accepted practices and with the responsible perpetrators being covered by impunity. It is important to raise awareness on women about body integrity and autonomy and promote safe and sound relationships of women with their own body. Media and advertising play a key role on featuring this. Regulations on how to portray women should be enforced and strengthened.  Movements like #MeToo, #Masaktach, etc., represent a revolution and show the power of Social Media to influence, impact and promote new ways to counter gender inequality. It is important to rethink these platforms to act together for the common cause but with the best way that match our cultural referential of human rights to make it relevant.

  1. Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes often harm women and girls worldwide. People have wrong perceptions about women competences to take up challenging courses or jobs and men continue to be in advantage when it comes to work or education opportunities or in the justice system. Women who are equally qualified as men still find it very difficult to be appointed in the top organizational positions.

Gender-based stereotypes continue to shape women’ and girls’ life. Due to cultural perceptions and beliefs women are expected to behave and dress in certain manner. In cases of rape, women are often blamed and held responsible either because of their dressing or because they broke the community’s social codes. For example, for many women and girls in rural areas there is the believe that the safer place for them is with their husbands or male relatives and not at school. Early marriage rate is still high and girls themselves adhere to the idea of marriage for fear to be left unmarried. Being an Arab woman can be regarded as a disadvantage and often leads to human right violations. In certain countries, women cannot work at night or in factories that are male dominated spaces.

Women must be considered as individuals with all human rights and duties. The challenge is how to shift from stereotypes that use women as commodities and reproductive partners, to societies where women are fairly and equally represented and treated? Part of it relates to equal educational opportunities for both women and men, training and empowering women as agents of change and providing gender sensitive learning environment to girls from primary schools to universities and beyond.

  1. Leadership and decision-making power

The review should focus on the Beijing objectives and on how to make women visible in the decision-making level at the work place rather than concentrating in politics only. Media must play its role in broadcasting how women CEO or Manager, disseminating their successful stories and demonstrating all what women can do when in leadership positions.

Also promoting women in leadership comes in hand with reducing gender pay, earnings and pension gaps, increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence, digital inclusion and fighting female poverty. In developing policies, it also comes with enhancing women's ownership in land and other financial resources. Importantly, increasing women’s access to leadership is also associated with recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work at home. Gender-sensitive training is critical for women to excel in leadership.

Also, gender discrimination and poverty go hand in hand. One interesting add-on to regulations would be to explore corporate and individual tax incentives for funding and developing poverty-alleviation solutions. And address not just economic poverty, but poverty of knowledge (especially technological) and of networking connections. Isolation leads to powerlessness which fuels gender-based violence.

  1. Promoting accountability and engaging new allies is critical

Holding each country's government accountable on their commitments and tracking progress of each country's on sdg5 is seen as critical. Disaggregated data must be enforced in all areas. There is progress it is not consistent and the lack of sufficient and accurate data continues to hinder interventions. There should be a strong call for better data for better decisions. Data-driven decision-making & evidence based practice is crucial. The capacity of statistics bureaus in developing countries needs to be enhanced. Gender machineries must be properly funded. Private organizations should be encouraged and held accountable in maintaining gender balance in their staff ratio.

Platform like the Unstereotype Allliance – the private sector collaboration convened by UN Women should be leverage to activate change. It is through the common goals of public - private sectors in addressing the needs of our citizens and consumers that we will be able to make meaningful change and impact on the world and break down the gender-based stereotypes that come to life across the world in diverse communities and countries.

While religions might have influenced gender inequities, many religious communities can be effectively engaged for change based on the tenets of their faith. Some topics are easier to champion than others - ex: easier to start the dialog for equal treatment of women based on God's design for men and women than lead with abortion rights.

Sangeet Gopal Kayastha • Coordinator at Y-PEER Asia Pacific Center Bangkok from Nepal

- The issue which i find missing was

1) " Rights and Services of all Young People including women, girls and LGBTIQ group during post humanitarian settings which is not limited to war but also the natural disaster such as flood, earthquake, landslides, etc. 

2) Gender Education in School as a important subject since early age.

Anju SHRESTHA (Awnu) • National Trainer & Core Member at Y-PEER NEPAL from Nepal

Additional :

Use of techlonogy to track the progress of government interms of Policy and Services which they committed.

Anju SHRESTHA (Awnu) • National Trainer & Core Member at Y-PEER NEPAL from Nepal

- Involvement of Men and boys is mentioned above, what missing is the right way or involvement since younger age with proper gender education.

- In statement we also need to focus on gender education which can reduce the existing cultural barriers .

Zubaida Hussain • I am an Gender issues M&E expert at Independent Consultant from Pakistan

Thank you very much for this fruitful summary. I have already mentioned this and I would like to reiterate that if we want to achieve the gender equality we will need to focus on the whole family and not only on children, women or men separately. The society as a whole needs to be changed to attain the gender equality.

Cathy • Consultant at Huairou Commission from United States

In preparation for teaching the Intro course for Women and Gender Studies at Texas Christian University, USA  I came across citings of several studies showing our unconscious biases. These biases, as most, are social and cultural constructs instilled from early childhood on. Although hard to change, the first step in the change process is for everyone to acknowledge that they exist. I think that feminist parallel communications must consistently include messaging that raises individual awareness to these unconscious biases and provide actions we can each undertake to diminish them. These two studies illustrate such biases.

In the one study, a business professor asked his students to share their impressions of two entrepreneurs. The first one was named Heidi and the second was Howard. Their stories were identical. Across the spectrum of respondents, Heidi was judged more harshly than Howard. Though both were rated competent, most didn’t like Heidi and wouldn’t hire her or want to work with her. She exhibited an “aggressive personality”, and the more assertive Heidi was, the more harshly were the remarks about her. Those same traits were deemed positive in Howard’s personality.

In another study, researchers posed as students and sent an identical email to 6,500 professors around the US asking for an opportunity to meet. The only variation in the emails was the names of the students requesting audiences with the professors. The findings showed that professors responded at a higher rate to names they perceived as white and male. Female names and names that sound like those of minorities were responded to at much lower rates.

We all have unconscious biases. And, we all should be more introspective at self assessment of our unconscious biases and work to minimize them in our evaluations of and interactions with others. I purport that these same biases are being applied to our treatment of women in politics, corporations and other leadership positions. Until we address these social/cultural/racial biases, we will not achieve more diversity in leadership, education or the workplace.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Cathy,

Thanks for your contribution which a perfect example of the issue of gender-based stereotypes that continue to a quiet and very powerful tool for disempowerment. The bias that you describe are originated in discriminatory social norms and cultural attitudes that justify gender discrimination and reinforce and perpetuate the historical patterns of discrimination. Many of the wide-range of persistent violence and discrimination against women are due to the unconscious and conscious bias, social norms and stereotypes which continue to be informed and reinforced by the media and advertisement industry despite huge efforts to tackle this problem. I don’t think there is much understanding on the depth and scope of their effect, yet we know that they pose grave impediments to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and hinder the social, economic and sustainable development of nations around the world.

Dear Colleagues, Any views on effective ways to counter stereotypes and unconscious bias will be greatly appreciated!!

Dr Juliet Ubom • Public health physician, Gender Officer Medical Womens Association at University of Calabar Teaching Hospital from Nigeria

Hi Cathy, Hi All, 

I appreciate this beautiful illustration of how unconscious social/cultural/racial biases continue to play out in our society. However from my experience and observation, the biases especially against women are further concretized  when females are given opportunities but fail to meet up the desired expectations but eroded when females achieve results far more than expected. I have observed over time that however patriarchal some sectors, females who prove their worth eventually become indispensable. 

For me, this is a wake up call for higher premiums to be placed on female education and empowerment.  Females should  be supported and trained from preschool to the highest levels to achieve greater feats in all areas of sciences, technology and the arts especially in areas currently dominated by males and newer uncharted frontiers. Supportive environment and incentives need to be put in place to enable females overcome their challenges.  I believe gender inequality and the biases against females will be weakened when being a female becomes synonymous with being a high achiever, productivity and value creation. Females must move beyond asking for opportunities to allowing their capabilities and performance speak for them. 

I believe a generation of well prepared females with demonstrated performance can challenge any preexisting narrative. 

Kind regards

Katia Uriona • Independiente at Profesional independiente from Bolivia

Hola, un saludo

Mi nombre es Katia Uriona Soy de Bolivia.

Considero que los temas planteados en la Bejing son todos relevantes y seguramente también es posible identificar todo lo que aún falta por avanzar y transformar en un mundo construido sobre la jerarquización del poder en favor de los hombres, lo cual a su vez genera múltiples sistemas de discriminación, exclusión y violencia.   Parece difícil imaginar que sin las múltiples plataformas de reivindicación generadas desde los diferentes movimientos feminista y mujeres, en cada uno de los países y a nivel global, estas demandas serían hoy parte de la exigibilidad para las transformaciones sociales y estatales, que permitan avanzar en el reconocimiento, respeto y ejercicio de los derechos humanos de las mujeres.

Sobre esa base, parece relevante compartir reflexiones, tomando en cuenta experiencias que en cada uno de los ámbitos o esferas den cuenta de algunos progresos alcanzados, lo cual puede contribuir y aportar a la discusión de estrategias futuras.

En el caso de Latinoamérica se plantea como horizonte el alcance de la Democracia Paritaria y la igualdad sustantiva, reconociendo la persistencia de los límites y brechas para el ejercicio de los derechos políticos en condiciones de igualdad entre mujeres y hombres. Por su parte existen países que han alcanzado la paridad en la conformación de los parlamentos, como es el caso de Bolivia, México, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador y otros países como Argentina y Uruguay implementaran leyes paritarias en el próximo período electoral. 

Por lo cual deseo sugerir se pueda incluir entre los temas del Foro un espacio para compartir las experiencias de América Latina, sobre los avances de la representación paritaria y aportar a la reflexión sobre Democracia Paritaria e igualdad sustantiva

Gracias, un saludo 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Hola Katia

Many thanks for your participation in this important dialogue. Certainly, the issue of lack of representation in leadership and decision-making continues to be a critical area of Beijing and challenge to development. This is a cross – sectors problem despite much work has been done to generate equal opportunities for women and girls. Even in the sectors in which girls are outnumbering men, the leadership positions continue to be male dominated.

Please help us identify good practices that have improved the status of women in leadership. We want to learn of what has worked well and how and by whom was change possible?

Zulaikha H Shihab • Capacity Building and Outreach Programme Officer at Musawah from Maldives

Thanks Patricia for bringing up the idea of identifying good practices and how and by whom change is possible.

As per The Beijing Declaration: “15. Equal rights, opportunities and access to resources, equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women, and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their well-being and that of their families as well as to the consolidation of democracy”

This statement from the declaration highlights the importance of family dynamics and the need for egalitarian families in order to ensure well-being, and even ties it to ensuring the development and sustainability of democracy. Reform of family laws are vital in both women’s economic empowerment, independence and flourishing of democratic societies. Yet governments remain resistant to demands for law reform to end discrimination against women in marriage and family, and misuse religion to silence dissent, as we at Musawah have seen in multiple Muslim contexts and countries with dual legal systems (ie a civil court and a religious court system). Muslim family laws and/or practices officiated by religious courts may justify discriminatory treatment of Muslim women with religious arguments, leaving them doubly marginalised as their rights as citizens are reduced to less than their non-Muslim counterparts. Hence, there remains a continuing disconnect between law and reality, de jure and de facto, which undermines the well-being of women and children, and stability of family life. It is not a surprise that Article 16 on Marriage and Family Relations of the CEDAW Convention remains the article with the most reservations.

Recent comprehensive cross-country data which provides a global overview of different types of gender-discriminatory legislation and outcomes found that “egalitarian reform of family law may be the most crucial precondition for empowering women economically” (See Mala Htun, Francesca R Jensenius, Jami Nelson-Nuñez; Gender-Discriminatory Laws and Women’s Economic Agency, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, jxy042, https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxy042).

Reform and change have always been an integral part of Muslim legal tradition; it is time to change Muslim family laws and practices to reflect changing realities and today's understandings of justice. It is time to foster public debate and build international support for reform of discriminatory family laws, with stronger evidence and rights-based understandings of religion to challenge the ways state and non-state actors abuse religion to justify discrimination against women and perpetuate patriarchy.

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear Zulaikha,

Many thanks for raising the critical role that families play in relation to the status on women. Your focus on the sharing responsibilities between women and men in household is very important. While there is huge progress in relation to women's access to work pay and to education, at the household level, the care and domestic responsibilities continue to be overwhelmingly lying on women.

This is link to the issue on social norms and gender stereotypes. How can we challenge the gender norms and attitudes so to ensure that women, half of humanity can have equal rights and opportunities to live a fulfilling life and benefit equally from progress? Shall we propose this issue to be included in the agenda of the Tunis Forum? 

Warm regards,

Patricia

Zulaikha H Shihab • Capacity Building and Outreach Programme Officer at Musawah from Maldives

Thanks Patricia Cortes , I think the issue of gender norms and stereotypes definitely should be included in the agenda! Many social norms and gender stereotypes are inextricable from culture and religion.

I want to point to another part of the article I mentioned above, which says that egalitarian family laws are key to ensure equal rights and opportunities in work, property ownership and legal capacity, to name a few. “Provisions on legal capacity are embedded in family laws, personal status laws, and civil codes, many of which are very old. In the history of many societies, family laws were not initially governed by the state, but by religious and cultural groups that managed kinship and reproduction.” (See Mala Htun, Francesca R Jensenius, Jami Nelson-Nuñez; Gender-Discriminatory Laws and Women’s Economic Agency, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, jxy042, https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxy042).

It’s problematic when they are perpetuated by not only religious actors but some state authorities who use religious and cultural identity to influence policy making, weaponising what should be a private issue into the public sphere to constrain women’s rights as citizens. Some activists have said, “Why bother fighting against religious laws and practices? Religion is inherently patriarchal, so just focus on human rights.” However, not engaging with religion or culture leaves that area wide open and uncontested to patriarchal interpretations that have real impacts on people’s lives, and often are at the root of justifying discrimination and misogyny against women and hampering the advancement of women’s rights. So we really must engage with religion and challenge those in positions of authority who unjustly misuse religion to perpetuate patriarchal norms and attitudes.

Family laws or personal status laws are perceived as a sacred domain. However, when working with Muslim communities, Musawah recognizes the strategic need to understand Islam better, to acquire the knowledge and courage not just to challenge the ways Islam is used to discriminate against women, but more importantly, to offer an alternative vision that reconciles religion with human rights and women’s rights.

Vivek Rai • Programme Specialist - Civil Society Division (UN Women) at UN Women from United States Moderator

Dear Colleagues,

Many thanks for your participation in this dialogue. I am Vivek Rai, Deputy of the Civil Society Division at UN Women and I am moderating this Forum for this week in collaboration with my colleague Patricia Cortes.

The issues that you have raised are much appreciated and will inform the agenda for the Forum. It will be great if you help us identify good practices for implementation that you may be aware of. Also, from the civil society point of view, what do you think should be the criteria for representation at the  Forum? How do we ensure that the Tunis Forum becomes a platform where the voices of civil society influence the definition of priorities for urgent action in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and come out with a set of recommendations to be presented at various fora?

I look forward to continue this conversation with you throughout this week.

Many thanks,

Vivek

Beity Tunisie • Addressing GBV in Tunisia at Beity from Tunisia

Dear Vivek,

Thank you very much for all the work you and your team are doing in preparation for this Forum.

As a Tunisian organization working on the rights of women, especially addressing  gender-based violence, we are are starting, with partner organizations, an Observatory on the many forms of violence faced by women in Tunisia. This Observatory will enable us to identify the diversity and frequency of GBV currently happening, as well as the reponses proposed by the justice, police, etc, and to then measure it against the current Tunisian legal framework on that topic. We will then collectively highlight the gaps between the law and the practice, and advocate towards the institutions with concrete recommendations on how to fill these gaps. 

This is one of the points we believe we should collectively focus on : gaps between the laws and their actual implementation. Passing laws in favor of gender equality and/or against GBV is not enough, and States should be held accountable for ensuring concrete implementation.  

Winrose Nyaguthi • Grassroots woman leader at GROOTS Kenya from Kenya

Hey All.

As rural woman engaged is monitoring progress at local level one of the disappointment is lack of data on GEWE.Where data is available it's packaged in a manner that does not assist grassroots movement to understand it and use it for advocacy.Its like policymakers produce data for own consumption.They also choose to collect data on general women issues and not core women rights priorties that will disrupt patriarchy

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

How do you think we can present this in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum?

Kalpana Viswanath • CEO at Safetipin from India

One important issue that we need to address is the backlash that women's rights activists are facing in many countries as well as online and in social media. This is leading to harassment of women's rights defenders and we need to support these women and men as a global community.  

SOcial media is a new medium of communication that was not available 25 years ago and it is shaping many conversations both nationally and globally. Here again women activists are targetted and face harassment.  This needs to be seriously addressed so that women are  able to continue working on rights based and feminist issues. 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Kalpana, 

Thank you for throwing light on the crucial issue of supporting men and women facing harassment through social media. 

A campaign which had raised world-wide empowerment through social media was #MeToo

What’s your opinion on such movement? Do you feel that would create impact in the society? What’s your opinion? 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Colleagues,

Hope you have had an amazing and insightful discussion so far in the past three weeks.  Much thanks for your participation in this dialogue. As we proceed to the last week of our dialogue, I have the humble opportunity of moderating this Forum for this week. I'm eagerly looking forward to learning much from each one of you who participate in this week's dialogue. 

The issues that have been flagged so far are just not crucial and essential to direct us for creating a road-map for the Tunis Forum in Gender Equality.

How do you think these topics can be presented in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum?

How do you think this forum can lead to active participation of women from every spectrum in the society? How can the Rural women stand as key players in changing gender dynamics? 

The aim of the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank was to address a lack of access to formal financial institutions and be a safe space for rural women to save their money. http://www.manndeshifoundation.org 

Do you think such women-led organisations create a ripple effect for the empowerment of rural women? Can you help us identify more such good practices?

I look forward to continue this conversation with you throughout this week. 

Regards & Peace,

Sailesh

John Ede • from Nigeria

Hello Everyone, 

Am really concerned at the momentum of the Beijing to Beijing, that is because, to so many women, its another document or agreement covered by dust in some offices, but it has not been localized.

How do we translate words to action for the majority of the marginalized in our local communities. How can we build a strong advocacy and accountability framework to ensure that we hold government to account for localization, and how do we build an accountability framework to ensure that progress is recorded and reviewed at local, national and regional level to add to the global progress made.

To what indices are we using to measure progress? what is the private sector doing to promote, institutionalize and mainstream gender in organizations around the world.   

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you so much John for sharing your valuable inputs. I think you have raised a very valid concern on the mechanism for measuring the impact of any reports that are finalised in such forums. Though, we partner with civil organisations for the implementation but to what level does the localisation of these reports happen. 

What do you feel we should create to measure the impact of our upcoming forum? How do you think we can stand out and take our reports to the last person? 

John Ede • from Nigeria

Sailesh Singhal,

Thank you for sharing your insights.

I firstly would recommend we have a baseline survey, on individual bases, and organization bases, spread across regions of the globe. 

We need to generate data, am not sure about other countries, but in most developing countries, there is no solid data system to measure and monitor progress.

It will be great if you or anyone can recommend any other method for us to gather data and have a baseline indices for measuring and monitoring progress.

Fernando Nuño Santana • Profesor de Cooperación Internacional at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) from Spain

Buenos días a todas y a todos,

Gracias por sus excelentes valoraciones y reflexiones. Un tema para mí fundamental en el desarrollo de los principios que inspiran Beijing es el desarrollo de inicitativas ciudadanas a nivel local que generan cambios políticos desde la base. El movimiento ciudadano es mucho más relevante para generar los cambios positivos desde la base social si hay apoyo político, pero este no es imprescindible para que los cambios surjan de manera natural desde la ciudadanía.

Hay proyectos ciudanaos que están generando cambios muy importantes desde las comunidades, los centros educativos, los barrios, los pueblos, las ciudades. Menciono abajo sólo una de las iniciativas en una ciudad, Madrid (España) que trata de desarrollar desde el movimiento ciudadano, con recursos ciudadanos, herramientas de igualdad que generen cambios sostenibles:

https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Igualdad-entre-mujeres-y-hombres/Cambiando-mentalidades?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=30d8ba6b3502d010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=c426c05098535510VgnVCM1000008a4a900aRCRD&idCapitulo=8058195

Reciban un afectuoso saludo!

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Guau. Muchas gracias por compartir una iniciativa tan maravillosa, que compromete a los ciudadanos a liderar un movimiento social. Esto es inspirador. ¿Ya conoces a los organizadores del movimiento o tienes la oportunidad de hablar con ellos? Es esencial responsabilizar a los políticos locales y los líderes electos. Según usted, ¿cómo podemos hacer eso? Saludos cordiales, Sailesh

P.S: I have tried my best to convey my thoughts in the local language. Excuse me for my mistakes. 

Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Dear colleagues,

Many thanks for your insightful engagement in last two weeks dialogue (8 to 22 February), which I moderated jointly with my colleague Vivek Rai.

As UN Women staff, it has been very insightful and inspiring to have this important opportunity of exchange and collaboration and we will share this summary with colleagues and ensure that your views inform the agenda of the Tunis Forum.

As we still have one more week to go, please do continue to help us in disseminating the Forum with your network and to engage new participants. We very much value your voices and contributions!!

The summary of our exchange follows. We have highlighted the issues that participants expressed as important to be addressed in the consultation in the Beijing + 25 process.

Achieving gender equality is the greatest test to the SDG era.

Beijing +25 acted as the first detailed road map to the journey of gender equality. To date, the Beijing Platform for Action with its 12 critical areas of concern remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration. However, time has brought new variables to the surface. The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will be a golden opportunity to push the frontiers in terms of granting commitments for the accelerated of the platform and also to mobilize new commitments specific to the current context. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has to guide our ask in our advocacy work to reflect the needs of the 21st century. The millennials and generation Z were not born or were very young at the time of the Fourth World Conference. We need to ensure that the outcome of the forthcoming review and appraisal reflect their reality and their needs and voices.

During the discussion held between 8 and 15 February, new areas of concern identified include the following:

  1. New and challenging expressions of conflict
  1. Migration and refugee crisis

With so many migrant and refugee crises around the world, participants stressed the importance of recognizing of the devastating consequences that such crises generate for women and girls. When it comes to refugees, from food insecurity to loss of educational opportunities, lack of safe water or health services and adequate clothing in the extreme weather in winter and summer, violence against women, women and girls are facing the brunt of the crisis. Displaced and refugee women and children are put at risk of sexual violence as well as sexual, psychological and physical exploitation. Indigenous women and girls victims of forced displacement from their homelands face increased risk of violation of their fundamental and collective rights, as well as a possible re-victimization.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Despite international, national and grassroots efforts, the institutions that are managing the response to displacement and refugees, still require ensuring a gender perspective is integrated increased in their programming efforts.
  • Migrant women have since 2000 become half of migrant workers and played a key role in their communities. Through remittances they contribute to poverty alleviation, local economic development and even employment generation. Yet they continue to be vulnerable in their human rights in their migration journey and the gender considerations are yet to be fully addressed in all the international efforts related to migration regulations.
  1. Women in new conflict situations or different new forms of conflicts

Conflict situations affect everyone but greater impact on vulnerable women and children (for example indigenous people) who face forced displacement, poverty and marginalization (examples of Syria, Colombia, Venezuela are mentioned by participants). Women in conflict contexts, especially pregnant women are at higher risk. The long-term effects of prenatal exposure to stress on their children's educational performance. Also, form the perspective of the DDR processes- disarmament, demobilization and Community reintegration, it is important to recognize the sexual and gender-based violence committed by combatants against women before and after disarmament and demobilization. Female ex-combatants remain invisible to society and at risk of falling into prostitution or trafficking networks women. Female ex-combatants often are single parents / heads of households.

Issues to be addressed:

To counter these risks, it is necessary and urgent to ensure that Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and security is fully applied in all peace-building and peace-keeping processes and in all stages of operations supporting peace, that is, from assessment missions needs to operations of peacebuilding in post-conflict.

  1. Climate change and environmental degradation

Climate changes is a concern to participants. From rising sea levels to drops in farming yields and urban floods, the impacts of climate change are being acutely felt by women. Women make up a large percentage of poor communities worldwide that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods.

In most developing countries and emerging economies, women use cook stoves that rely on solid fuels such as biomass (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung) and coal as their primary source. Women spend a significant amount of time collecting fuel. The health and environmental impacts of unclean fuels and inefficient technologies can be devastating for women and children, who usually spend more time in the home.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Successful action on climate change depends on the engagement of women as stakeholders and planners in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
  • Women play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, and it is extremely important to make sure that this role is not only fully understood, but incorporated into the climate agenda.
  1. Sexual and reproductive rights

The issue of family planning and reproductive rights is seen as one that needs a space in the Forum in Tunis and which remains a contention even 25 years after Beijing. There is backlash in relation to sexual and reproductive rights. Access to family planning, safe abortions, protection / education related to health, and the prevalence of unbalanced relations between women and men continue to prevent women from full and free enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights. This leads to unwanted pregnancies, maternal morbidity, sexually transmitted infections, among other disempowering factors that prevent women to life to her full potential.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Family planning policies play an extremely important part in encouraging greater equality. Yet the decrease in the availability of contraception in countries affected by conflict has added stresses on women in particular.
  • The numbers of women dying in childbirth throughout the world remains too high specially in developing countries and yet it is not a priority.

 

  • Some states do not recognize SRHR (Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights), so it have to be renamed as SRH&RR as many countries don't want to link Rights apart from reproductive rights.
  • Work with youths or CSO who have the experience on promoting Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

Breaking the myths and stigma around menstruation

Breaking the myths / stigma around menstruation is critical. Menstruation continues to be one of the main reasons why they’re missing from classrooms. Safety in bathrooms and the way to go back and forth home to schools is also a disempowering factor.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Investing in menstrual hygiene management, including in eliminating taxes to, and reducing the cost of sanitary products and ensuring safety and protection in public spaces are critical steps to furthering the gender equality goal.
  • Also, if we need to focus on preventing unplanned pregnancy, especially in poor or conflict contexts menstrual education is key and yet it remains a highly neglected area.
  • Providing proper care for women and giving them advise and tips on menstrual hygiene is so important for a better future society.
  • Training on drinking water and sanitation management at home is also critical.
  1. The massive development in internet and technology

Technology and innovation is an area that has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. Participants expressed concerns on how future technology and innovation may increase and widen gender inequity if proper regulations are not in place. This can be seen in Artificial Intelligence algorithms which if not well regulated and managed can be based on data that is historically attached gender disparity. It is important to guarantee that data used to train algorithms complies with fair representation of women's rights.

Also, participants highlighted that gender equality continues to be a challenge in science and technology. Despite these advancements, there is still a low proportion of women graduating and pursuing STEM careers worldwide which affects negatively employment and productivity of women in science and increases occupational segregation with women under-represented in the sciences.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Girls and young women today are interested in STEM. There is a good opportunity to promote that girls chose fields like science, engineering, or math in their professional paths through managing and allocating resources, programs, educational opportunities, granting connectivity and equal access to decision-making to young women and girls.
  • It is important to support and promote diversity and to overcome disadvantages and stereotypes.
  1. The lenses of intersectionalities as analytical framework

Participants recommended the use of intersectionality as an analytical framework to ensure that the outcome of the review and appraisal acknowledge and understand that women situations vary and that they are affected by patriarchy in different manners, therefore should be addressed differently. Recognizing the diversity of society. There is one homogeneous world and each country has its own specificities and realities.

  1. Youth

“As a Young Citizen of 25 years old (yes, almost like Beijing +25), it’s very important for me to be part of this new chapter we are preparing for the world.”

The Beijing + 25 is a great opportunity to leverage the power of youth to ensure progress towards development. The world continues to lack the culture of youth participation in the development process. Most people including young people ignore their rights/ obligations. Youth are never been educated to share their ideas, opinions, projects to improve their own economic, social et political situation. And this is the biggest challenge: excluding «THE» solution to resolve the problem. Involving the young citizen in partnership with other stakeholders, in building priority actions will create a big difference.

Issues to be addressed:

  • We need the next generation to learn about the Platform for Action from an early age, for example by inserting the BPfA in our educational curriculum as a means to influence the change in society.
  • Young should play a role in monitoring and being part of the institutional agreements, advocating to have think tanks, innovation labs...etc. to work toward holding governments accountable for implementing the BPfA in partnership with civil society and the youth.
  • The Voice of Young Women should be listened in the Tunisia forum. In Africa, there are many courageous young women contributing to making the world better as activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, career professional, community volunteers, to name a few. 
  • The Tunisia forum should thus offer a solid platform for young women in their diversity to voice their vision and change required so that the world is able to deal with ever increasing violence and inequalities based on gender, race and class, and making it accessible to those from remote and under resourced communities.
  1. Ageing women

There is a continuum of discriminatory attitudes that women and girls face throughout the life cycle and in all spheres of life, including ageing women who are vulnerable to violence and abuse. Also, across the globe, about two thirds of informal care for older people is women’s responsibility. In patriarchal societies, caring work holds a lower status and often allocated to women mostly in unpaid, informal and with very low wages conditions.

Issues to addressed

  • Many women around the world are unaware of the financial risk they face when they are out of the job marked and which prevents them to access social security or to build a pension fund.
  1. Indigenous women

Indigenous women’s rights were raised by different participants. One intervention spoke about the situation of indigenous women in urban areas and the need to take them into account in the development of international and local agendas towards gender equality, the protection of individual and collective rights of ethnic groups, which are subject to special constitutional protection.  Displacement, ethnical background, income are certainly intersecting factors that put indigenous women in greater disadvantage.

Issues to be addressed

  • Urban planning should not turn their backs to the needs and demands from indigenous women living in urban areas.
  1. Grassroots women

The Beijing + 25 must be committed to putting the agenda and voice of grassroots women including middle and elderly women at the centre of the discussion. A reason why most people still consider the Beijing Platform for Action transformative is because it was built in an inclusive manner and with great participation of grassroots women leadership in complementing states as we shape the agenda for the many years to come.

Issues to be addressed:

  • The lack of data on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Where data is available it's packaged in a manner that does not assist grassroots movement to understand it and use it for advocacy. Its like policymakers produce data for own consumption. They also choose to collect data on general women issues and not core women rights priorities will disrupt patriarchy.
  • We need to address is the backlash that women's rights activists are facing in many countries as well as online and in social media. This is leading to harassment of women's rights defenders. It is critical to support these women and men as a global community.  
  1. LGBTI needs and rights

Key Issues that were missing in 1995 was the issues of LGBTI including Trans Women. The Beijing + 25 review and appraisal is the opportunity to bring their voices into the conversation. In this Tunusia Forum can set the standard.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Rights and Services of all Young People including women, girls and LGBTIQ group during post humanitarian settings which is not limited to war and also the natural disaster such as flood, earthquake, landslides, etc. 
  1. Men and boys

Men and boys is broadly recognized a critical strategy to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women. Strengthening the relationship with men that can become advocates of gender equality is critical, particularly when it comes to men in key decision-making positions.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Involvement of Men and boys. How to ensure their commitment since young age. The role and responsibility of the gender-responsive education.
  1. Faith

While religions might have influenced gender inequities, many religious communities can be effectively engaged for change based on the tenets of their faith.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Some topics are easier to champion than others - ex: easier to start the dialog for equal treatment of women based on God's design for men and women than lead with abortion rights.
  1. Persistent inequalities
  1. Violence against women

Today there is a lot more attention on domestic violence and sexual violence than in 1995, yet there is less of focus on violence against women in the political sphere. We need to pay attention to the new manifestations of violence against women, for example the gender cyberbullying. Obstetric violence is often unseen. Police officers, nurses and doctors assault women especially those from marginalized communities as a commonly accepted practices and with the responsible perpetrators being covered by impunity.

Issues to be raised:

  • It is important to raise awareness on women about body integrity and autonomy and promote safe and sound relationships of women with their own body.
  • Media and advertising play a key role on featuring this. Regulations on how to portray women should be enforced and strengthened. 
  • Movements like #MeToo, #Masaktach, etc., represent a revolution and show the power of Social Media to influence, impact and promote new ways to counter gender inequality. It is important to rethink these platforms to act together for the common cause but with the best way that match our cultural referential of human rights to make it relevant.
  • The issue if securing universal ratification, implementation and enforcement of all human rights laws so to address the elimination of the systemic gender and racial violence and discrimination.  
  • Work together with local organizations working on the rights of women, especially addressing gender-based violence. Local observatories of the many forms of violence faced by women and which could be leveraged to identify the diversity and frequency of GBV, the responses by justice, police, etc. That information could used to identify and quantify the gaps between law and the practice, and advocate towards the institutions with concrete recommendations on how to fill these gaps. 
  • Social media is a new medium of communication that was not available 25 years ago and it is shaping many conversations both nationally and globally. Women activists are targeted and face harassment. This needs to be seriously addressed so that women are able to continue working on rights based and feminist issues. 
  1. Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes often harm women and girls worldwide. People have wrong perceptions about women competences to take up challenging courses or jobs and men continue to be in advantage when it comes to work or education opportunities or in the justice system. Women who are equally qualified as men still find it very difficult to be appointed in the top organizational positions.

Gender-based stereotypes continue to shape women’ and girls’ life. Due to cultural perceptions and beliefs women are expected to behave and dress in certain manner. In cases of rape, women are often blamed and held responsible either because of their dressing or because they broke the community’s social codes. For example, for many women and girls in rural areas there is the believe that the safer place for them is with their husbands or male relatives and not at school. Early marriage rate is still high and girls themselves adhere to the idea of marriage for fear to be left unmarried. Being an Arab woman can be regarded as a disadvantage and often leads to human right violations. In certain countries, women cannot work at night or in factories that are male dominated spaces.

Many of the wide-range of persistent violence and discrimination against women are due to the unconscious and conscious bias, social norms and stereotypes which continue to be informed and reinforced by the media and advertisement industry despite huge efforts to tackle this problem.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Women must be considered as individuals with all human rights and duties. The challenge is how to shift from stereotypes that use women as commodities and reproductive partners, to societies where women are fairly and equally represented and treated? Part of it relates to equal educational opportunities for both women and men, training and empowering women as agents of change and providing gender sensitive learning environment to girls from primary schools to universities and beyond.
  • Promote the study and understanding on the depth and scope of gender stereotypes and their effect.
  1. Leadership and decision-making power

The issue of lack of representation in leadership and decision-making continues to be a critical area of Beijing and challenge to development. This is a cross – sectors problem despite much work has been done to generate equal opportunities for women and girls. Even in the sectors in which girls are outnumbering men, the leadership positions continue to be male dominated. The review should focus on the Beijing objectives and on how to make women visible in the decision-making level at the work place rather than concentrating in politics only.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Media must play its role in broadcasting how women CEO or Manager, disseminating their successful stories and demonstrating all what women can do when in leadership positions.
  • Also promoting women in leadership comes in hand with reducing gender pay, earnings and pension gaps, increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence, digital inclusion and fighting female poverty.
  • In developing policies, it also comes with enhancing women's ownership in land and other financial resources. Importantly, increasing women’s access to leadership is also associated with recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work at home. Gender-sensitive training is critical for women to excel in leadership.
  • Also, gender discrimination and poverty go hand in hand. One interesting add-on to regulations would be to explore corporate and individual tax incentives for funding and developing poverty-alleviation solutions. And address not just economic poverty, but poverty of knowledge (especially technological) and of networking connections. Isolation leads to powerlessness which fuels gender-based violence.
  • Making the business case when advocating for gender equality. According to The World Bank - Women, Business and the Law 2018 report, countries with fewer barriers to women working consistently show higher per capita incomes that contribute to local and national economic health and improved well-being of families. In advocating for women in the workforce, we end up indirectly addressing laws that guarantee that women can sign contracts, open bank accounts and get credit, independence in travel, expand property rights, safety from sexual harassment in the workplace and need for gender appropriate bathroom facilities, etc. Advocating women as economic drivers also promotes education of young girls and shows that given the same opportunities as young boys, can also contribute to the family's well-being.
  1. Promoting accountability and engaging new allies is critical

Holding each country's government accountable on their commitments and tracking progress of each country's on sdg5 is seen as critical. Disaggregated data must be enforced in all areas. There is progress it is not consistent and the lack of sufficient and accurate data continues to hinder interventions. There should be a strong call for better data for better decisions. Data-driven decision-making & evidence- based practice is crucial. The capacity of statistics bureaus in developing countries needs to be enhanced. Gender machineries must be properly funded. Private organizations should be encouraged and held accountable in maintaining gender balance in their staff ratio.

Platform like the Unstereotype Allliance – the private sector collaboration convened by UN Women should be leverage to activate change. It is through the common goals of public - private sectors in addressing the needs of our citizens and consumers that we will be able to make meaningful change and impact on the world and break down the gender-based stereotypes that come to life across the world in diverse communities and countries.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Use of technology as a means to enforce government’s accountability progress in relation to their commitments to policy and services
  • At the city (local) and the national level, ensuring better dis-aggregated data collection for evidence-based decision making in the cities. Locally relevant dis-aggregation such as on the basis of sex, age, race, ethnicity, class, indigeneity, location, ability/disability, caste, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, etc.
  • Encourage the use of gender-responsive budgets for gender equality and justice in policies, programmes and budgets.
  • Recognize that local governments are patriarchal institutions, focus on structural changes in local governments so that the way decisions are made and resources allocated are gender-inclusive and recognise intersecting inequalities in all aspects of urban governance and management.  
  • A stronger focus is needed on working women in urban environments and their precarious working conditions, as well as rights and benefits, etc. Recognition of domestic workers and informal sector workers and rights and protections for them.
  • The gaps between the laws and their actual implementation are enormous. Passing laws in favor of gender equality and/or against GBV is not enough, and States should be held accountable for ensuring concrete implementation.
Jaime E. Conde Matos • Expert Consultant Child Rights at Defensores PROCDN from Puerto Rico
  • The concept of wives as property of their husbands should be strongly challenged.
  • Promote comprehensive scientifically accurate sexual education, which includes skill development for decision-making and communication as part of a healthy approach to sex.
  • Strong positioning on reproductive rights as human rights, including safe, legal, accessible and dignified abortion services.
Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you for your inputs. Is there any organisation currently working on these issues you mentioned in your region or anywhere? 

Adding a quick thought, how do you feel family dynamics play as an integral part of Beijing that has not been fully examined?

Marie Yanique Amboise • Specialiste en Genre et Inclusion Sociale at DAI from Haiti

Je viens  juste de rejoindre la discussion. Je ne sais pas si cela a ete deja dit. Sinon, je l'ajoute a la discussion.

Le genre doit etre integre dans le curriculum scolaire des  le primaire (de la meme facon que la grammaire francaise enseigne le genre feminin et le genre masculin) - et peut-etre que, finalement, on n'aura plus besoin de distinguer les genres -. Des le jeune age, le petit garcon aura deja compris ce qu'est l'egalite des sexes et sera ainsi mieux dispose a voir la petite fille comme son egale. La petite fille, de son cote, n'aura pas a absorber tous les stereotypes qui empoisonnent notre vie d'adulte. Cela deviendra naturel.

Il m'arrive de rencontrer des universitaires qui ne connaissent meme pas le terme genre pour lesquels, il faut de longs debats pour les aider a comprendre.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Tout d’abord, merci beaucoup Marie d’avoir participé à la discussion et partagé vos contributions. Vos suggestions et contributions seraient utiles dans toute la discussion. Sensibiliser au genre et sensibiliser les élèves dès le plus jeune âge est tout à fait essentiel. En même temps, j'avais lu un rapport local sur la manière dont les mots ordinaires que nous utilisons créaient également un impact considérable. En général, nous avons tendance à utiliser plus souvent des «gars» pour s’adresser à un groupe de personnes. il a déclaré qu'au fond de la psychologie, l'esprit est entraîné au patriarcat. Qu'en pensez vous?

P.S: Excuse me for any mistakes. I’ve tried my best to communicate in French. 

Mauricio Manquepillan • estudiante at Universidad de Chile from Chile

Agradezco la posibilidad de comentar y aportar a este interesante foro. Mi experiencia ha sido trabajar en Género y educación en instituciones publicas (universidades, ministerios y algunas ongs) y desde allí espero hacer algunos aportes después de haber re-leído el documento de Beijing.  Pienso que en Chile se ha avanzado notablemente en igualdad de género en diversos espacios, participación política, paridad en los directorios de empresas, mayor consciencia en la necesaria reducción de la violencia hacia las mujeres, mayor matricula e ingreso de mujeres a la educación terciaria (Universitaria), etc.  Sin embargo aún quedan muchos desafíos por superar.  Muchos de estos avances aún son frágiles cuando nos enfrentamos al reconocimiento de que continuan las brechas de género en remuneraciones, en acceso de mujeres a áreas Stem y a carreras profesionales mas especializadas, que todavía existe una estadistica alta de femicidio en Chile y violencia contra las mujeres en general.  Indudablemente no hemos alcanzado la igualdad de género aunque cada vez estamos más conscientes desde la ciudadanía de la necesidad del respeto de los derechos humanos de las mujeres en nuestra sociedad.  Por ello quiero poner enfasis en el punto: "lentes de la interseccionalidad como marco analítico", especialmente en el punto 6, Hombres y niños.  Mi impresión es que en Chile no avanzaremos progresivamente hacia la igualdad de género mientras no seamos capaces de implicar a hombres en tareas de equidad de género y a niños (varones) en propuestas educativas desde la primera infancia que impliquen mayor sensibilidad hacia la igualdad, especialmente en lo que compete a la reducción de estereotipos de género en su formación escolar.  El documento de Beijing señalaba (Numeros: 72, 74 y 75 del informe) la fuerte presencia de sesgos y estereotipos de género en educación, tanto en recursos educativos, materiales didácticos, textos de estudio, en las practicas docentes y en la formación profesional en las universidades.  Si bien existe mayor consciencia de esto hoy en día, es poco lo que se ha avanzado al respecto.  Practicamente las universidades que dictan pedagogías -en Chile- no han incorporado en sus mallas curriculares estudios de género, o metodologías y didacticas que incorporen un enfoque de género.  Los nuevos profesores y profesoras se enfrentan sin una formación adecuada para tener que definir ellos y ellas desde si mismos lo que sería la equidad de género.  Por esta razón en las aulas los y las docentes no analizan sus resultados escolares desde una perspectiva de género, si asi lo hicieran se percatarían porque las niñas tienen mas bajos rendimientos en ciertas áreas y los varones en otras; con ello podrían tomar decisiones para reforzar aquellas áreas de estudio más deficientes, pero eso no ocurre aqui. En paralelo a esto durante la formación en el sistema escolar las y los estudiantes son reforzados en sus estereotipos o imagenes respecto de cómo proyectarse profesionalmente como mujer o varon.  No existe una orientacion vocacional con perspectiva de género en liceos y escuelas en el país.  Ello trae como consecuencia que se agrupa a varones en carreras de areas stem y a mujeres en carreras de salud, pedagogías y humanidades, que precisamente son carreras con baja remuneracion en el mercado.  Si uno quisiera promover un cambio mediante sistemas de cuotas para que varones ingresen a carreras de mayor presencia femenina surge el rechazo porque esas áreas ya son feminizadas o tienen baja remuneración, port consiguiente el trabajo para una igualdad de género debe de hacerse desde antes en las escuelas.  Este trabajo también debe implicar a varones y a niños en equidad de género en el trato entre ellos y hacia las mujeres, prevención de la violencia, aprendizaje de la mediación de conflictos escolares.  La escuela debiese de incluir unidades de reflexión y de consciencia critica frente a los modelos masculinos hegemonicos que son transmitidos por los medios de comunicacion social, debiese la escuela ser un foco critico de aquellos espacios donde existe discriminación por raza, por sexo, por identidad de género, por clase social, por religion, edad, etnia o discapacidad.  Sin embargo nos encontramos aun con practicas de bullying y de homofobia y de racismos y sesgos de clase social en muchas escuelas en Chile.  Por consiguiente mi aporte se orienta a tomar consciencia que no basta una estructura de reformas legales y/o estructuras políticas que se orienten hacia la igualdad de género mientras no avancemos desde la educación primaria en la eliminacion definitiva de sesgos y estereotipos y de toda forma de discriminación en el comportamiento concreto de estudiantes y tambien de docentes e instituciones que en ocasiones poseen sus sesgos discriminatorios.  Pongo el acento en estos aspectos del documento de Beijing, que a mi juicio no hemos profundizado lo suficiente, y que espero podamos avanzar más en esta dirección si queremos alcanzar la igualdad de género para que nuestros hijos la disfruten.   Muchas gracias por el espacio para participar.

Esther • Founder at GROOTS Kenya from Kenya

The Value Visa vis  The Cost of  public participation in the pursuant for gender Equality and Women Empowerment

In the error prior to Beijing conference,  the participation  of women living in poverty and in the margins of development  largely  revolved around injecting small amount of finances and short term training to  women groups  in many developing countries. There was little  acknowledgement of the capacities  and lived experience that  these women hold. These narrative has gradually changed albeit more in project proposals and publications rather than  the actual practice on the ground. Today development actors led by UN Women and women’s organization  are in support of accounting  the contribution grassroots women make in development,  ensuring that the grassroots women are seated at the table of decision making including in peace process,  that women are able to hand large finances and don't need  micro finances, they are researchers and policy setters in their own rights, that men too have responsibilities  and become great partners in ending gender equality e.t.c  While this is all good, we have not taken into account the cost of ensuring full and meaningful public participation of already left far behind. Over the years, the  intense work GROOTS Kenya  has done in enhancing grassroots women  capacities to participate in development has demonstrated that it takes an average of 3 to 5 years to closely work with local women who will eventually engage and challenge policies and budgets,  become an instrumental of voice for transformative change at local, national and international levels.  To thus empower a critical number of  grassroots women requires massive investments both human, policy shifts  and financing.  Additionally decentralization and development   aimed at bring public decisions  closer to the mass has been a trend in the last 20 years in many developing countries. Public participation has become a common term for this process. GROOTS Kenya has become increasingly concerned  on the level of  free time and resources that women who are already living in poverty are expected to contribute.

Recommendation: There needs to large scale and in-depth analysis  of the cost of public participation  in development process  among  grassroots women  and their communities   and  appropriate investments and policy shifts required  in order to accelerate  the efforts of closing gender inequality and ending poverty.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you Esther for sharing such an insightful points. Actually, you have made a very valid point that it is quite very essential for a massive investment for public participation. How do you think can we do that? 

Do you wish to share more about the works of GROOTS at the grassroots level? What are the possibilities of engaging it in an innovative way at Tunis forum?

Rocco Santoro • senior statistician at Private consultant from Italy

I am very sorry. I found this debate a little bit surreal. There is a fact. We ascertain that Women condition in the world is not actually improved in the last 20 yrs. The best insight was the election of Potus: the sexist speeches and the machismo acts of incumbent President of the United States of America has not attracted the electorate towards the woman candidate. Another very current example is the menace of a new globally nuclear weapons race.  Which are the causes of the present situations? I think that the main factor is that Human society has still build on the masculine models. The female models are isolated and minoritary. Therefore who are the main actors of the worldwide policy that worked against the objectives of BD? No trace in debate. Therefore it is compulsory to make a short list of the adversaries of the BD. I try to do it partially: the political leaders of G20 (two are women), the general secretary of IMF (she is a woman), the Director-General of WTO, the group of G30 (at the present two are women. Please see https://group30.org/members), the CEOs of the first 100 best performant companies in the world (two are women. Please see https://hbr.org/2018/11/the-best-performing-ceos-in-the-world-2018), the CEOs of the first twentieth richest persons in the world (Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_Billionaires#2018). These are adversaries because they are and have the Power and the Means for changing the models but only some cosmetic interventions have been realized. I mean: why the article IV consultation has not been reformed putting the absence of economical and financial woman discrimination as the first IMF requirement for funding a country? I dream that during the conference there is the courage to unveil the facts asking in the louder voice an effective changement in the entire governance of the human society. I apologize if my words are so simply. Thank you for the attention

Rocco Santoro

Avni Mittal • Research Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from United States

Thank you Patricia for so kindly summarizing the discussion thus far. I wholeheartedly agree with many of the points brought up this month such as not only investing in re-usable menstruation management tools for women and girls, but also working towards eliminating stigma that comes with re-usable menstruation products and providing women and girls the proper training on how to use them. There are a few points I wanted to add to the discussion concerning women's rights in the healthcare sector. 

1. As the global landscape changes our our approach to health needs to change as well. The policy changes in Europe have caused the opioid trade route to alter and shift toward Africa. With new injection methods such as bluetoothing (where one user's blood is injected into another's) women are at greater risk for contracting HIV and HCV from either injecting themselves or from their spouses. Focusing on empowering women through harm reduction and treatment options will be key in the coming years.

2. Should work towards improving the healthcare environment and resources available to women as many places will not treat them for certain sexually transmitted diseases without their spouses being present. Fewer women are also treated for their opioid addiction than men. 

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you for sharing your inputs, Avni. 

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Addiction for any comes out of psychological imbalances in life systems.Any form who ever is dragged for drugs needs another de-addiction centers.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you for participating in the discussion. 

S ann • from United States

Dear Sailesh,

In response to your question of what I would like to be presented at the Tunis Conference:

Intersectionality

As a tribute and honor for U.S. Black History month, I take this opportunity to introduce to some, Dr. Anna Julia Cooper (August 10, 1858 - February 27, 1964),  an African American author, educator, sociologist, orator, and Black Liberation activist, who was also one of the most prominent scholars in the U.S. History. In 1893, Dr. Cooper, along with five other African American women, presented a speech at the World’s Congress of Representative Women (part of the World’s Columbian Exposition), transforming the American women’s suffrage movement.  In her book, “A Voice from the South,” she introduces, what is now known as, the intersectionality of gender and race; prepare women, as she refers to, “one-half of the human family” for leadership roles; and in vindicating the “woman’s cause, ” she advocates for the world to hear “her” unmuted voice, which resonates today in response to policy questions concerning the economy and to improve schools, public institutions, prisons, labor relations, and trade.   Prior to entering the sphere of influence, her rubric instructs women to survey past failures and achievements to overcome any “difficulties and embarrassments” that may appear in the future. She further explains that effective strategies cannot be developed without fully understanding the “policy of violence” and its adverse impact on daily lives. Additionally, she applies unalienable rights, i.e., Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, to the “woman’s cause,” irrespective to “race, color, gender, and condition.”   Finally, Dr. Cooper encourages and inspires solidarity among contemporary women’s movements such as: #MeToo, #TimesUp, #BalanceTonProc, #NiUnaMenos, #HollaBack, #TotalShutdown and others. Her feminist and religious epistemology include race and gender equality, humanity, and intersectional scholarship, in particular, in higher education.  As a great honor, she is the only woman and second African American quoted in the United States Passport, along with US Presidents and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Her quote reads as follows: “The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class -- it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you so much Ann for your valuable inputs. 

Hadeel Qazzaz • MENA Regional Gender Justice Coordinator at Oxfam International from Canada

Supporting women in securing and accessing decent work and enjoying their fundamental rights, especially the principle of equal pay for equal work is key to achieve all Bejing+25 goals mentioned above.  We advocate for social and labor policies that seek to protect women at work and support the path to formalizing women’s employment. In that sense, building solidarity among working women from diverse backgrounds is essential.

We need to work more to recognize the value of unpaid care work and the equal sharing of responsibilities through public policies that protect maternity and paternity, free and universal services and policies that recognizes care as a social responsibility that requires public sector response and support.

One main approach is by building alternative economic entities such as cooperatives and collective enterprises and work in collaboration with key public and private sector actors to build inclusive business models that support women-led initiatives, enterprises and women’s leadership. 

There is always a need for better and high-quality gender analysis across economic and social sectors and promote the integration of gender  perspectives into macroeconomic policies around the world.

Working with the private sector,  including global actors within value chains, to systematically invest in ways that best work for women and uphold their economic and labor rights.  Women’s economic empowerment ambitions need to be scaled up from household and community level to sub-national, national and global levels, and pursue robust country and regional work on gender-sensitive  meso/macroeconomic policy.

Judge/Zafar Gondal • Technical Specialist Justice and Rule of Law at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from Somalia

In 2020, 25 years after Beijing, no country in the world has achieved gender equality. Based on what we know now, since the Beijing conference in 1995, where should our focus lie? What must be the top critical issues to galvanize the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender equality commitments of the SDGs to achieve equality by 2030?

Are there key issues that should be put on the agenda that were missed 25 years ago?

Comments: The Beijing Platform is an aspirational vision. Different countries are at different stage of gender equality, gender parity and women empowerment. There is  need to evaluate what worked, what did not work, and why did not work? The evaluation results will vary from country to country. There is need to review the Beijing Platform for Action to align it with 2030 Agenda for SDGs. These are areas that need to be prioritized in 2030 Agenda SDGs.  SDG5 runs through and feeds into all SDGs and all SDGs are contributing to and feeding into SDG5.  

1. Access to Justice and justice institutions

Though it is a very comprehensive document, it does not include equal access to justice for women. We have enough empirical  evidence  that justice is as important as health and education for people. We have gathered new knowledge and data on gender barriers to access to justice and justice institutions. women must know the law, use the law and be able to shape the law. There is need to focus on gender inclusion and gender access to police and other justice institutions. The programming must vary from country to country. Unless women are part of justice, police and security institutions, we are not able to achieve outcomes.

2. Reform of discriminatory laws

The laws are still discriminatory particularly marriage, family and property laws. This is, in fact, transformative action and one of the signature solution of UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. All barriers start with policy, discriminatory laws. discriminatory social norms, distorted historical facts, power structure, legal structure and political structure. All states and governments and UN agencies committed to reform discriminatory laws in 2030 Agenda: SDG1.4, SDG2.3, SDG4 all targets, SDG 5.1, 5.a, and 5.b. Similarly SDG10. the reform of laws, policies and practices must be at country level, at sub national level and at local level because  implementation is at the lowest tier of government.

3. Policy coherence and institutional coherence

SDG 17.13, 14 and 15 demand policy coherence. this is the single most important factor for success and it failed us in the Beijing Actions. SDG5 is thread through all SDGs and all SDGs feed into SDG5. Sometime, I feel other SDGs are more important for women empowerment, for equal justice, for gender parity, for prevention of violence against women, social justice and environmental justice. SDG16 is central to justice, prevention of violence, reduce inequalities, SDG8, SDG9, SDG11, SDG12, SDG13 etc. 

4. Real time institutional collaboration and coordination

SDG 17.16 and 17.17 requires close collaboration and coordination. At present there are several grey areas in the mandates of various UN agencies-UNFPA, UNDP, UNHRC, UNODC, UN Women, UNIDO, ILO. At country level I don't see any coordination. Similarly, in many countries there are overlapping mandates that failed the Beijing Platform Action, is failing us in achieving SDGs and will fail if not addressed. INGOs are not coordinated as well. Too many agencies are working without lead agency. all must coordinate. UNDP country platform need activation to collaborate and coordinate all UN agencies, NGOs, and state and public institutions.

5. Local level governance inclusion

change at the grassroot level is essential for sustainable change and for change in the mindset. 9 out of 11 Objectives and Action of the Beijing Platform are mandate of local governance. It is critical to focus on local governance, power structure, social structure for real change. quota system for women is a temporary and not ideal solution. The actions and implementation must be at local level and sub national level. The national government only for policy coordination nd coherence.

6. Implementation of laws, shared principles and commitments

Implementation gaps are real problems, the way laws are drafted in countries are the problem. The laws lack build-in implementation, monitoring, evaluation, review and reform system. This failed the Beijing Platform Actions and will again fail us in 2030 Agenda.

7. Data collection, monitoring and mutual accountability

there is need for consistent lesson learning, data collection, data analyzing and interpretation and adopting actions and programs. It is important for policy making, planning, strategies ad approaches and funds allocations.

8. Programming coherence, interlinkages, sequencing and building bridges

programming coherence is essential for effective employment of skills, resources and results. we must identify linkages, synergies and ensure sequencing in programming under each SDG. There are 8 kind of known relation between various SDGs-inextricably linked to another, reinforcing that aids achieving of another sdgs, enabling that create conditions for progress for one or more sdgs; accelerating and consistent, constraining, counteracting, cancelling relations. This is critical for success and more relations may be discovered while implementing and data gathering, analyzing and interpretation.

9. UNDP Country Platform

UNDP Country platform must paly role of facilitator and integrator at local level, country level and at global level in mainstreaming gender issues, action and provide platform for thinking together, planning together, strategizing together, programming together, implementing together, monitoring and evaluating together, reporting and improving together. UNDP has convening power, knowledge, tools, policy and technical skills to do this integrator and facilitator job.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Thank you for sharing your valuable suggestions and a detailed plan of what should be incorporated in the upcoming Tunis Forum. As you mentioned, it is essential to see the progress of each country through different lenses as every country has its own dynamics, challenges and opportunities. 

Looking forward to your continued participation. 

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

GACSA Compendium on Climate-Smart Irrigation was published earlier this week (see announcement below).The Compendium is available for download at the following URL: http://www.fao.org/3/CA1726EN/ca1726en.pdf.

It is also accessible through the GACSA website: http://www.fao.org/gacsa/resources/gacsa-csa-documents/en/.

I would like to thank you again for your inputs.

It is useful for water and irrigation in these stressful years/summer.It has my name because i had contributed for initial draft.

I have a novel on climate changes-with international developmental professional in lead role-2025-DIAMOND TREASURE ISLANDS:

They are available here in the Hub-i posted last time[it is free]By SARIPALLI SURYANARAYANA.

[2]NIRVANA 2020: 20 TH SEPT 2020,about energy form different sources for human consumption.

Sailesh Singhal • Founder (Youth of India) at Youth of India from India Moderator

Dear Saripalli,

Thank you for sharing the resources with us, which might be useful for us during the Tunis Forum. Thank you for your participation and meaningful engagements through the discussion. 

S ann • from United States

Dear Fatima, Sailesh, and other Moderators:

Gender Equality Includes Reparations For Women:

Based on a certified copy of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which the Palu and the United States have not ratified, CEDAW does not include explicit women’s rights for remedies, reparations or compensation.  “A legal basis for a right to a remedy [is] linked to [] a right to reparation … firmly enshrined in the corpus of international human rights and humanitarian instruments.”  According to the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparations, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence:

The obligation to provide adequate reparations involves ensuring the rights of women to access both criminal and civil remedies and the establishment of effective protection, support, and rehabilitation services for survivors of violence. The notion of reparations may also include elements of restorative justice and the need to address the pre-existing inequalities, injustices, prejudices, and biases or other societal perceptions and practices that enabled violations to occur, including discrimination against women and girls.

The following is recommended to ensure effective remedies, reparations or compensation for violation:

  1. States Parties have a duty to ensure remedies as stated in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Article 4(d), as well as all of the contents; however, the declarations are not binding.  Therefore, remedies, reparations or compensation for women’s rights must be explicitly stated in CEDAW and implemented pursuant to their respective constitutional powers, national laws or provisions of appropriate mechanisms.   Implementation of rights may require a combination of means.

  2. CEDAW should include the intersectionality of women on the basis of sex and/or age, race, color, creed, ethnicity, disability, religion, gender identity, language, and any other discriminatory distinctions, exclusions or restrictions and provide protection against any acts of retaliation.  

  3. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women specifically requires States Parties to “develop penal, civil, labour and administrative sanctions in domestic legislation to punish and redress the wrongs caused to women who are subjected to violence.”  States Parties should also guarantee victims have due process, access to justice, legal representation, enforcement of rights, a fair judicial process, alternative dispute resolution, effective and proximate remedies, just compensation, including pain and humiliation, compensatory and punitive damages for physical and mental harm and any post-residual effects, health care,  legal fees, and any other remedies deemed appropriate.  

  4. Article 2 (g) should be amended to read:  “To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women or exclude women.”  

  5. States Parties should be required to monitor the implementation and enforcement of CEDAW as well as all respective international human rights treaties.

I think I have pretty much exhausted my participation on this forum (smile).  I would like to sincerely thank you all for the opportunity and your responses.  Would love to receive a final report of what has been submitted to Tunis Forum.

Corinne NDOUNG MANDENG • Présidente at FAFED from Cameroon

Corinne MANDENG

Fondatrice de l'Association Filles d'Aujourd'hui, Femmes de Demain (FAFED) - Cameroun

Je me réjouis du privilège de pouvoir donner ma modeste contribution. Depuis Beijing, beaucoup de choses ont changé mais pour les années à venir, je souhaite une meilleure prise en compte de la condition des jeunes femmes. Cette expression doit être mentionnée de manière spécifique tout comme cela est fait pour les femmes et les filles. Cela permettra d'avoir une visibilité des actions menées en leur faveur puisqu'elles ne seront plus diluées dans le groupe des femmes où elles sont exploitées par les aînées, parfois exclues ou simplement des figurantes, considérées comme des rivales, celles qui viennent prendre la place

Urszula Marchlewicz

I would like to inform on possibility of solving the questions under Discussion with making the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action fully operational and effective by imbuing in it stipulations on unified way of planning, realizing and verification of sustainable development by countries t the UN coordination, with integral and holistic regard all development also gender, peace and security aspects by and within the 2030 Agenda, based on reliable fundamental law-based model of sustainable development, with the model as operational template which I built, promote for such universal use and would like to forward to the United Nations for required licensing, and to ask to forward the information to the Forum in Tunis, and if recognized as relevant, to support by it my efforts by recommending the model for use by the States and the UN.

I explain below the model and way of realizing by it global sustainable development through the 2030 Agenda, highlight how it solves some chosen questions considered under the Discussion, and add references and remark.

The model. It is a logical information&operational model of ideal equal effective sustainable development which reflects fundamental rules of human existence in the Earth environment system submitted to necessary management, which precises and unifies actual method of institutional functioning of countries by corporate and national accounts&GDP&budget model with imbuing knowledge as development driver and attributing to it planned territorial  management and coordination by set of ideal policies responding to SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and strategy of  improvement.

It expresses human development as realizing by parallel equal mobile human individuals, men and women (as individuals closed system) their existence by fulfilling their needs through 3-staged life (with renewing), with use of their knowledge, work and components of stable ideally fitted limited environment – ideally throughout organized closed leveled institutional through-life X-Y system responding to CNAM with defined interlinked functions in which they participate through life, by identification-planning-realizing of i) defined set of their equal needs at ii) most effective use of components of environment&climate/matter&energy (from its closed E&C system) at keeping equilibrium of E&C system, iii) inclusiveness of all individuals in institutions, iv) promotion of development&and support of equalizing (of realizing their needs arising from different allocation of E&C and individuals) and structuring through/of institutions by programs, managed regionally, at optimizing national and global coordination, done with actual knowledge in annual periods, with checking the realizing, then its improvement/development by use of more precise&new knowledge. So with development realized&managed through institutional system built as closed block chained measurable grid, referred to precisely identifiable individuals and E&C systems.   

Realizing occurs by set of coordinated four broad policies responding to four mentioned determinants and also to the SDGs groups (SD10&SDG1-9, SDGs11-15, SDG16, SDG17) of the 2030 Agenda, by institutions defined by the model, at leveled regional-national-global management with top-down&bottom-up approach, at strategy of continuous improvement of realizing by more precise&new knowledge.

Solving by the model some chosen questions considered under the Discussion

The coordinated set of policies is realized through responding parts of governments, by managed regions (also smaller managed territories) at raising territorial coordination – national, then global one, with all policies regarding involvement of individuals in executive institutions with regard gender, age any feature of individuals, and with clearly defined roles and interdependencies of all institutions at all levels, allowing easy attributing existing institutions with their eventual fitting.  

The policies embrace next to key development-aimed activities also related with peace, security also restoration - as at disarmament, after conflicts, disasters, climate change – arising from fundamental logic of existence and required highest effectiveness, with recovery of environment&climate.  

Migration aspect is managed by support for inter-territorial equalizing and structuring. Innovation and technology aspects are precisely managed by defined and measured role of knowledge interlinked with and managed by policies, and with education and research.

There is provided institutional promotion of development, next to regular education also research, to make its rules and roles of institutions and individuals known to all - by authorities through supporting institutions.

There is delivered reliable basis – closed block chained measurable grid with dots - for reliable planning and realizing of IT to facilitate by it reliable operation and management of sustainable development, including cyber-security.

References and remarks. I built the model 2016 by precising of core institutional model referred to territory and individuals I built 2004, verified scientifically, appreciated by global auditor and stock exchange, and accepted by PL&EU Authorities, for realizing EU regional pilot which I did 2000-10, in regional University through its Regional Contact Point of the EU R&D Program acting in national and EU network. I started precising 2008 by additional regarding fundamental law of existence and as aimed at support global sustainable development initiated&led by the UN. Since 2017 I promote use of the full model for global realizing the 2030 Agenda,  with subsequent integrating within it other UN agendas&intergovernmental agreements with their structures to contribute to acceleration of global development. I promoted such integrating for New Urban Agenda (at participating in the World Urban Forum 9), and (with accredited status) for the Global Compact for Migration and for peace and nuclear disarmament aspects at attending the Mandela Peace Summit and the Int’l Day to Commemorate of the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. For precise operational use the full model requires precising verification by environment&energy&urbn experts but could be used for starting organizing institutional functioning as already defined by verified core model.

I enclose leaflet with the model I prepared for the Nelson Mandel Peace Summit&Int’l Day to Commemorate the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

I am ready to present the model and explain its utility for the Beijing+25 purpose in more details.

Kind regards

Urszula Marchlewicz

Marchlewicz Marketing Management Agency, Poland

Global Dev Hub Admin • Admin at Global Dev Hub from United States

Posting this contribution on behalf of Joseph Choga:

ARTICLE 5 CEDAW: USE OF NEW GENDER METHODOLOGY-GALS 

My argument is that the Platform for Action did not do justice to Article 5 of CEDAW when in actual fact this is where all efforts at gender transformation crumble if the area is not properly addressed. There is urgent need to involve the people in any gender transformation process rather than taking people as victims who need to be assisted by laws and other external stimulus. Not in any way diminishing the contribution of externally-driven interventions I feel that people need to go through a behaviour and attitude change process for enduring gender transformation. The people must be assisted to go through the transformation themselves and the new GALS methodology holds the greatest potential for achieving this. I therefore describe the shortcomings of the Platform for Action vis a vis Article 5 of CEDAW and how GALS can assist people to internally drive their own gender transformation agenda.

The Gender Gap

  • Concerted efforts made and still underway to end gender inequality globally as outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action and other international instruments;
  • Gender gap still stubbornly persists and according to Global Gender Gap Report (GGGR, 2018) it will take up to 108 years to close it going by current pace of reforms and changes;
  • By different measures, including Human Development Reports, modern developed societies and urban communities consistently show narrower gender gaps compared to traditional developing countries and rural agrarian/pastoral milieus as well as certain religious faiths respectively. 

CEDAW’s Three General Thrusts to Address Gender Inequality 

These are;

  1. civil rights and the legal status of women;
  2. the dimension of human reproduction; and 
  3. the impact of cultural factors on gender relations. 
  • The Platform for Action is elaborate on 1 and 2 and no wonder why a lot of ground has been covered in terms of creating conducive legal environment by governments for gender equality;
  • Comparably, Third Thrust as foreseen in the Introduction and Article 5 of the CEDAW, was given scanty attention in the Platform for Action, only being embedded in paragraphs 118 and 124’s sub paragraph k) of “critical area of concern d-Violence against Women”;
  • To the contrary, Third Thrust permeates through the full spectrum of “critical areas of concern” and to confine it to a single or some areas dilutes its impact on the whole topic of gender;
  • Culture, beliefs and customary practices and norms will continue to feed gender disharmony in people’s lives even with the best of laws and statutes;
  • Thus going forward the Platform of Action must put Third Thrust in the forefront rather than the backburner;
  • Currently, gender mainstreaming is the strategy of choice in addressing the negative factors described in the Third Thrust although people perceive it as western ideas being imposed on them, prescriptive approaches in use;

Proposed remedy

  • Use an approach where Third Thrust is made a standalone concept and strategic objectives developed on how the factors (cultural beliefs, norms and customary practices) negatively impinge on each and every critical area, as they do;
  • Derive Actions from a gender mainstreaming approach known as Gender Action Learning System (GALS), a non invasive, non intrusive, non threatening and non prescriptive household methodology;
  • In conventional methodologies outside experts and/or institutions descend on a community to extract data, process it offsite and draw conclusions on it and based on those conclusions design and implement gender mainstreaming initiatives on the people, a prescriptive approach;
  • For GALS outside experts go to a community to facilitate participatory gender analysis by the people (men and women together) themselves; the people gather and process their own data, draw up their own conclusions and based on those conclusions craft their own locally functional solutions and action plans for addressing gender imbalances i.e. removal or diminishing of negative factors;
  • Allied to addressing negative cultural norms and customary practices GALS has also a robust empowerment dimension in which each household is able to draw up, implement and track own livelihood/entrepreneurship plan based on a visioning priority.
  • Thus GALS is a strong behaviour and attitude change methodology as well as robust women empowerment agent that has vast potential to transform the gender landscape in a big way. 
Patricia Cortes • Project Coordinator – Beijing + 25 Project (UN Women) at UNWomen from Colombia Moderator

Summary of the Discussion: Beijing to Beijing + 25

Between 1 and 27 February 2019, UN Women, UNDP Sweden and Tunisia ran a dynamic online discussion to support preparations for the forthcoming Tunis Forum for Gender Equality (April 2019) which brought together the views of diverse respondents on the good practices and key gaps and challenges in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender compact of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Participants included representatives from civil society, government organizations, research and leadership institutions from many countries from all regions of the world.

The outcome of the online discussion will inform the definition of the Agenda for the Tunis Forum, a key milestone on the lead up to the review and appraisal of the Beijing Platform for Action which will be undertaken by the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2002, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the IV World Conference on Women

A summary of the Issues for further discussion, and recommendations for further discussion in the Tunis Forum follows:

  1. Achieving gender equality is the greatest test to the SDG era.

Beijing +25 acted as the first detailed road map to the journey of gender equality. Almost 25 years after, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration. However, time has brought new variables to the surface. 2020 will provide a golden opportunity to push the frontiers in terms of granting commitments for the accelerated implementation of the Beijing Platform. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the guide to our asks and advocacy work. The millennials and generation Z either were not born or were very young at the time of the Fourth World Conference. We need to ensure that the outcome of the forthcoming review and appraisal reflect their reality and their needs and voices.

  1. New and challenging expressions of conflict

a. Migration and refugee crisis

From food insecurity to loss of educational opportunities, violence against women, lack of safe water or health services and adequate clothing in the extreme weather, women and girls are facing the brunt of the crisis. Displaced and refugee women and children are at risk of sexual violence as well as sexual, psychological and physical exploitation. Indigenous women and girls victims of forced displacement from their homelands face increased risk of violation of their fundamental and collective rights, as well as possible re-victimization.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Generate the adequate gender mainstreaming capacities in the organizations managing the response to displacement and refugees.
  • Recognize that through remittances, migrant women play a critical role in poverty alleviation, local economic development and employment generation. Yet they also face enormous vulnerabilities and violation to their human rights. Gender considerations are to be fully addressed in all the international efforts related to migration regulations.

b. Women in new conflict situations or different new forms of conflicts

Conflict situations affect everyone but greater impact on vulnerable women and children (for example indigenous people) who face forced displacement, poverty and marginalization (examples of Syria, Colombia, Venezuela). Women in conflict contexts, especially pregnant women are at higher risk. For example, prenatal exposure to stress results affect negatively children's educational performance.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Ensuring that Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and security is fully applied in all peace-building and peace-keeping processes as well as in all stages of operations supporting peace, that is, from assessment missions needs to operations of peacebuilding in post-conflict.
  • From the DDR perspective, recognizing the sexual and gender-based violence committed by combatants against women before and after disarmament and demobilization, is critical. Female ex-combatants and their children remain invisible to society and at risk of falling into prostitution or trafficking networks.

c. Climate change and environmental degradation

Climate change is a concern to participants. From rising sea levels to drops in farming yields and urban floods, the impacts of climate change are being acutely felt by women. Women make up a large percentage of poor communities worldwide that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Successful action on climate change depends on the engagement of women as stakeholders and planners in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
  • Women play a crucial role in the fight against climate change. It is important to make sure that her role is recognized and incorporated into the climate agenda.

d. Sexual and reproductive rights

There is backlash in relation to sexual and reproductive rights. Access to family planning, safe abortions, lack of adequate sexual education, and the prevalence of unbalanced relations between women and men continue to prevent women from full enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights.

Participants raised the obstetric violence which is often unseen. Police officers, nurses and doctors assault women especially those from marginalized communities as a commonly accepted practices and with the responsible perpetrators being covered by impunity.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Some states do not recognize SRHR (Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights) but only reproductive rights.
  • Working with youths or CSO who have the experience on promoting Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights is key.

e. The massive development in internet and technology

Technology and innovation is an area that has changed dramatically in the last 25 years.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Participants expressed concerns on how future technology and innovation may increase and widen gender inequity if proper regulations are not in place. This can be seen in Artificial Intelligence algorithms which if not well regulated and managed can be based on data that is historically attached gender disparity. It is important to guarantee that data used to train algorithms complies with fair representation of women's rights.

  1. The lenses of intersectionalities as analytical framework

Participants recommended the use of intersectionality as an analytical framework to ensure that the outcome of the Beijing + 25 review acknowledges that women’s situations vary and that they are affected by patriarchy in different manners.

a. Youth

“As a Young Citizen of 25 years old (yes, almost like Beijing +25), it’s very important for me to be part of this new chapter we are preparing for the world.”

The world continues to lack the culture of youth participation. Most young people ignore their human rights. Youth are not been educated to share their ideas, opinions, or their projects to improve their own economic, social and political situation. Involving young citizens in partnership with other stakeholders, in building priority actions will create a big difference.

Issues for further discussion:

  • The Beijing + 25 is a great opportunity to leverage the power of youth to ensure progress towards development.
  • Promote inserting the BPfA in our educational curricula.
  • The Tunisia forum should offer a solid platform for young women in their diversity to voice their vision and change required so that the world is able to deal with ever increasing violence and inequalities based on gender, race and class, and making it accessible to those from remote and under resourced communities.

b. Ageing women

There is a continuum of discriminatory attitudes that women and girls face throughout the life cycle and in all spheres of life, including ageing women. Across the globe, about two thirds of informal care for older people is women’s responsibility. In patriarchal societies, caring work holds a lower status and often allocated to women mostly in unpaid, informal and with very low wages conditions.

Issues to addressed

  • Many women around the world are unaware of the financial risk they face when they are out of the job marked and which prevents them to access social security or to build a pension fund.

c. Indigenous women

Indigenous women’s rights were raised by different participants. Displacement, ethnical background, income are certainly intersecting factors that put indigenous women in greater disadvantage. The situation of indigenous women in urban areas was raised. It is important to take them into account in the development of international and local agendas towards gender equality. 

Issues for further discussion

  • Urban planning should not turn their backs to the needs and demands from indigenous women living in urban areas.

d. Grassroots women

The Beijing + 25 must commit to bring grassroots women, including middle and elderly women, at the centre of the discussion. A reason why most people still consider the Beijing Platform for Action transformative is because it was built in an inclusive manner and with great participation of grassroots women leadership.

Issues for further discussion:

  • The lack of data on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Even when available, data is packaged in a manner that does not assist grassroots movement to understand it and use it for advocacy.

e. LGBTI needs and rights

Key Issues that were missing in 1995 was the issues of LGBTI including Trans Women. The Beijing + 25 review and appraisal is the opportunity to bring their voices into the conversation. In this Tunusia Forum can set the standard.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Rights and Services of all Young People including women, girls and LGBTIQ group during post humanitarian settings which is not limited to war and also the natural disaster such as flood, earthquake, landslides, etc. 

f. Men and boys

Engaging men and boys is a critical strategy to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Issues for further discussion:

  • How to ensure men commitment since young age.
  • Promote gender-responsive education.

g. Faith

While religions might have influenced gender inequities, many religious communities can be effectively engaged as game changer based on the tenets of their faith.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Some topics are easier to champion than others, for example the equal treatment of women based on God's design for men and women.
  • Abortion rights continues to be challenged by the religious communities.

  1. Persistent inequalities

a. Violence against women

There is more attention to domestic violence and sexual violence than in 1995 but there are new manifestations of violence, for example the gender cyberbullying, which required attention.

The issue of against women in the political sphere is also an issue that requires attention. Women's rights activists are facing backlash in many countries as well as online and in social media. This needs to be seriously addressed.

Issues to be raised:

  • It is important to raise awareness on women about body integrity and autonomy and promote safe and sound relationships of women with their own body.
  • Media and advertising play a key role on featuring this. Regulations on how to portray women should be enforced and strengthened. 
  • Movements like #MeToo, #Masaktach, etc., represent a revolution and show the power of Social Media to influence, impact and promote new ways to counter gender inequality. It is important to rethink these platforms to act together for the common cause but with the best way that match our cultural referential of human rights to make it relevant.
  • The issue if securing universal ratification, implementation and enforcement of all human rights laws so to address the elimination of the systemic gender and racial violence and discrimination.

b. Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes often harm women and girls worldwide. Due to people’s misconceptions of women’s capacities, men continue to be in advantage when it comes to work or education opportunities or in the justice system. For equally qualified women as men it is still difficult to be appointed in the top organizational positions.

Many of the wide-range of persistent violence and discrimination against women are due to the unconscious and conscious bias, social norms and stereotypes which continue to be informed and reinforced by the media and advertisement industry despite huge efforts to tackle this problem.

Breaking the myths / stigma around menstruation is also critical. Menstruation continues to be one of the main reasons why they’re missing from classrooms. Safety in bathrooms and the way to go back and forth home to schools is also a disempowering factor.

Issues for further discussion:

  • The challenge is how to shift from stereotypes that use women as commodities and reproductive partners, to societies where women are fairly and equally represented and treated.
  • Part of it relates to equal educational opportunities for both women and men, training and empowering women as agents of change and providing gender sensitive learning environment to girls from primary schools to universities and beyond.
  • For breaking the myths round menstruation, investing in menstrual hygiene management is key, including in eliminating taxes to, and reducing the cost of sanitary products and ensuring safety and protection in public spaces.

c. Leadership and decision-making power

Despite much work has been done to generate equal opportunities for women and girls, even in the sectors in which girls are outnumbering men, the leadership positions continue to be male dominated.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Media must play its role in broadcasting women CEOs and managers, their successful stories and demonstrating all what women can do when in leadership positions.
  • Also promoting women in leadership comes in hand with reducing gender pay, earnings and pension gaps, increasing female labour market participation and equal economic independence, digital inclusion and fighting female poverty.
  • In developing policies, it also important enhancing women's ownership in land and financial resources.
  • Increasing women’s access to leadership is also associated with recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work at home.
  • Gender-sensitive training is critical for women to excel in leadership.
  • Explore corporate and individual tax incentives for funding and developing poverty-alleviation solutions. And address poverty of knowledge (especially technological) and of networking connections. Isolation leads to powerlessness which fuels gender-based violence.

d. Promoting accountability and engaging new allies is critical

Holding country's government accountable on their commitments and tracking progress on sdg5 is critical. Disaggregated data must be enforced in all areas. Progress it not consistent and the lack of sufficient and accurate data continues to hinder interventions.

Data-driven decision-making & evidence- based practice is crucial. The capacity of statistics bureaus in developing countries needs to be enhanced. Gender machineries must be properly funded. Private organizations should be encouraged and held accountable in maintaining gender balance in their staff ratio. Platforms like the Unstereotype Allliance – the private sector collaboration convened by UN Women, should be leveraged to activate change. It is through the common goals of public - private sectors that we will be able to make meaningful change.

Issues for further discussion:

  • Use of technology as a means to enforce government’s accountability progress in relation to their commitments to policy and services
  • At the city (local) and the national level, ensuring better dis-aggregated data collection for evidence-based decision making in the cities. Locally relevant dis-aggregation such as on the basis of sex, age, race, ethnicity, class, indigeneity, location, ability/disability, caste, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, etc.
  • Encourage the use of gender-responsive budgets for gender equality and justice in policies, programmes and budgets.
  • Recognize that local governments are patriarchal institutions, focus on structural changes in local governments so that the way decisions are made and resources allocated are gender-inclusive and recognise intersecting inequalities in all aspects of urban governance and management.
  • A stronger focus is needed on working women in urban environments and their precarious working conditions, as well as rights and benefits, etc. Recognition of domestic workers and informal sector workers and rights and protections for them.