The Stream

Stream@UNGA: When will women win equality?

Dia Mirza joins our panel looking at challenges for women’s rights a quarter-century after the Beijing declaration.

On Wednesday, September 23 at 19:30 GMT:
It has been 25 years since former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood on a podium at the United Nations conference on women in Beijing and declared that “human rights are women’s rights…. and women’s rights are human rights.” 

A lot has happened since then and efforts to attain gender equality have moved faster than at any other period in history. Access to contraception and health care has expanded for women in many parts of the world, legislation around sexual violence has improved and global efforts to ensure girls’ right to a quality education have made an impact. 

But the reality is the world still lags behind the goals outlined in that historic speech. According to UN Women, the anniversary should serve as a wake-up call at a time when “the impact of the gender equality gaps is undeniable.”

Despite the weight of Clinton’s words in 1995, “no country has fully delivered on the commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action, nor is close to it,” UN Women has said. In a report this month, it noted women hold just one quarter of seats at tables of power across the board. 

Men still make up 75 percent of parliamentarians, hold 73 percent of managerial positions, and 70 percent of climate negotiators are men, the report found.

In an op-ed in The Atlantic this month, Clinton wrote that the goal of her speech was to “push the envelope as far as I can on behalf of women and girls.” But that “the work is nowhere near done.”

In the third of a special series of shows in partnership with the UN General Assembly, we look at the progress made so far, discuss the promises made in 1995 and ask what more needs to be done.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Dia Mirza, @deespeak
United Nations Environment Programme Ambassador

Mary Maker, @MaryMaker10
UN High Commissioner for Refugees 

Filippo Grandi, @FilippoGrandi
High Commissioner, UNHCR

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, @phumzileunwomen 
Executive Director, UN Women

Read more:
Where are all the women leaders? – Al Jazeera
For women refugees, finding work is doubly hard – Al Jazeera