In a new report, "Realising the vision for gender justice: what needs to change in 2015," Christian Aid outlines challenges and opportunities for addressing gender justice and greater global gender equality in 2015 and beyond. See the Introduction text below, or read the entire report here.
As women’s rights activists, including those from the faith community, prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA),1 stories coming from many parts of the world remind us that women are still denied their human rights in the most brutal ways, just because they are women. We are still a long way from achieving gender equality, which is crucial for the full realisation of human rights, eradication of poverty and achievement of sustainable development. Without greater equality between women and men, our responses to other pressing issues, such as economic inequality and climate change, will be partial and insufficient. Christian Aid, a member of ACT Alliance,2 through its programmes with local partners and its policy and advocacy work, is focusing on responding to the challenges that financing and social norms present to gender equality. The BDPfA, agreed at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, provided a comprehensive and hugely powerful framework to advance women’s rights around the world in all aspects of life. The BDPfA recognised the need for a gendered analysis of legislation, public policy and implementation in all fields, from the economy and work to health and education. It adopted and promoted the principle of ‘gender mainstreaming’ as the global strategy for achieving gender equality by ‘making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres’.3 Despite the comprehensive nature of the BDPfA and the legally binding value of ratified human rights instruments – in primis the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)4 – progress towards gender equality has been slower than expected.