In September of 1995 the United Nations convened the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. The official name of the Conference was “The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace”. 189 governments participated in the conference and more than 5,000 representatives from 2,100 non-governmental organizations.
The outcome document of this conference known as The Platform for Action set out a number of actions that were to lead to fundamental changes in the lives of women and girls. Section L of the document focuses on the girl child and contains nine strategic objectives with corresponding actions that were to be taken by governments and civil society.
The objectives are:
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child.
- Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.
- Promote and protect the rights of the girl-child and increase awareness of her needs and potential.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
- Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
- Eradicate violence against the girl-child.
- Promote the girl-child’s awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
- Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of the girl-child.
In 2010 the United Nations will review progress on Beijing. An important part of this Beijing +15 review will be to ask how and in what ways girls are better off or worse off than they were in 1995.
As an NGO representative at the UN working on girls’ issues I am interested in what you think, especially if you are a girl.
Can you cite one success and one failure regarding any or all of these objectives? Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas.