The 4th UN Conference on Women in 1995 was the birth of The Beijing Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights. Governments around the world pledged to change or remove their existing unfair laws and make legal equality a reality. But that goal is far from being realized.
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights are women’s rights…And women’s rights are human rights.”Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the 4th UN Conference on Women, Beijing 1995.
Our founders were in Beijing 25 years ago, and every day since we’ve continued to hold governments accountable for their promises, creating a better world for women and girls. Every five years since 1999 Equality Now has highlighted explicitly sex discriminatory laws that need to be reformed in our Words and Deeds report.
Which Laws Are A Problem?
While legal discrimination exists in many forms, there are four broad categories of legal discrimination, each including laws related to:
- Marital Status – Sex discrimination in marital status laws renders women and girls subordinate in many aspects of family relations before, during, and after marriage
- Personal Status – Sex discrimination in personal status laws negatively impacts the ability of women to conduct various aspects of their daily lives.
- Economic Status – Sex discrimination in economic status laws restricts women from being economically independent, limiting access to inheritance and property ownership as well as employment opportunities, thereby reinforcing gender stereotypes and roles.
- Violence – Sex discrimination in laws purporting to address violence, or silence on the issue within the law, can actually promote or perpetuate violence against women and girls because there is little to deter perpetrators from committing crimes or inadequate recourse for victims; intimate partner and sexual violence is disproportionately inflicted upon women and adolescent girls.
Download the 5th edition of our Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +25 Review Process
Explore an overview of the campaign updates and progress since the publication of Words & Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +25 Review Process.