» Re-Thinking Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
03.03.2015 - UNESCOPRESS

Re-Thinking Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality

© UN Photo/Marco Dormino

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, UNESCO will host a high-level conference - “Re-Thinking Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality in 2015 and beyond” - at its Paris Headquarters on 4 March. Six eminent women will discuss the progress made in achieving gender equality globally, and the challenges which still remain.

According to UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova, “we must ensure that women’s empowerment and gender equality stand at the heart of all of our work to craft a better future.

This conference takes place within an international context marked by the celebration of Beijing+20 and International Women’s Day celebrated each year on 8 March. In 1995, 17,000 participants gathered together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women with the hope of creating a better future for women worldwide. The resulting Declaration of Beijing and its Platform for Action called for measures to be taken in 12 critical areas. It remains a powerful source of inspiration regarding women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Twenty years later there are still major inequalities between women and men across the globe. As the international community prepares the post-2015 development goals, we must ensure that gender equality is placed at the heart of the agenda both as a priority in itself and as a means to the full realisation of the development goals.

Subjects discussed will include the education of women and girls. While gender parity in primary school and girls’ enrolment rate in lower and upper secondary school have improved tremendously, millions of girls are still out of school and two thirds of the world’s illiterate population are women.

Panelists will also review women’s participation in decision-making and politics, where major obstacles continue to block progress and where women make up only 21.9 % of the members of national legislatures. Gender and environmental issues are also on the conference programme, as well as a discussion on ways to end violence against women. Indeed, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence and this issue still needs to be efficiently addressed.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, will open the Conference. UNESCO’s Division for Gender Equality’s Director, Saniye Gülser Corat, will moderate the event.

Panelists include:

  • H.E.Dr Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • H.E. Ms Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica
  • Ms Tsetska Tsacheva, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria
  • Ms Gertrude Mongella, Secretary-General of the Fourth International Conference on Women, Beijing
  • Ms Nicole Ameline, President of the CEDAW Committee
  • Ms Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi, Professor of law, member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

More information on our website.

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