Beijing +25 and the Global Goals
On October 1st (October 2nd in Australia), a high-level meeting was held at the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women's Conference. Global Goals Australia was proud to be in virtual attendance.
The Fourth Conference on Women was held in September of 1995 in Beijing. It was here that the Beijing Platform for Action was agreed upon, marking the conference a turning point in global gender equality. The Platform for Action covered 12 main components of women's economic, social and environmental inclusion and empowerment. These were as follows:
Women and poverty
Education and training of women
Women and health
Violence against women
Women and armed conflict
Women and the economy
Women in power and decision-making
Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
Human rights of women
Women and the media
Women and the environment
The girl child
The details of these objectives spanned 240 pages of the complete report on the conference and its outcomes.
It has now been 25 years since these resolutions were adopted, and October 1st saw leaders from nations across the world speaking on their commitments to Gender Equality in their country.
The consistent theme throughout the meeting was the disadvantage women have faced throughout the global pandemic and the impact this has had on the economic, social and environmental empowerment of women and girls around the world.
It is estimated that 70% of frontline health workers and first responders are women across the globe; however, the gender pay gap in the healthcare sector is 28%, which is higher than the average gender pay gap across industries.
Modelling also suggests that COVID-19 will cause the gender poverty gap to widen between now and 2030, with women who run their own businesses to be hit hardest. The hours of unpaid domestic work have also increased more for women than they have for men since the start of the pandemic.
For many people, it is difficult to understand exactly what we can do to support vulnerable people economically in times such as these. So we have put together a list of helpful tips, so you can make a meaningful contribution to gender equality in the times of COVID-19.
1. Support women-run businesses
Christmas is just around the corner, and while it might be tempting to head down to the nearest Kmart, it isn't helping the local economy. Find women-run businesses in your area that you can support, with a specific on businesses owned and run by women of colour. If buying from an ethical and environmentally sustainable business means you need to spend more money, cut down on the number of items you buy! This helps control waste generation as well.
2. Prioritise women's hiring and promotion
Be mindful of the impact of the pandemic on women. Where possible, prioritise the hiring and promotion of women within your organisation. This includes committing time where appropriate to mentoring women within your organisation to take on leadership roles.
3. Become a mentor
There are a number of unemployed women due to the impact of COVID-19. Many of these women could use the support of a mentor. If you have gone through the pandemic with relative economic stability, consider whether you might have time to mentor a young or unemployed woman once a week, fortnight or month.
4. Share the responsibility of unpaid work in the home
Women quite often face the brunt of unpaid domestic work. Where possible, share household duties among members of your home unit. This alleviates stress and helps with women's mental health. It also helps younger members of the family, including children, by allowing their mothers to be more present with them also.
It is a fantastic time to reflect on what we have achieved under the guiding platform from Beijing in 1995; however, we must continue to work towards these strategic objectives and actions to ensure progress towards Goal 5: Gender Equality continues, despite the effects that COVID-19 has had on women's economic, social and environmental equality.