2015 will be a significant year, encompassing the adoption of the post-2015 development framework, the 15th anniversary of resolution 1325 and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Women's conference. The anniversaries of these milestones, as well as the current discussions on a new set of development goals, present us with a timely occasion to reflect on the progress and setbacks for women around the world, women's empowerment and gender equality.
Despite the progress made to achieve gender equality, women in many parts of the world, particularly those living in post-conflict societies, are still suffering from poverty, acts of violence and discrimination. Countries affected by conflict, violence and insecurity face the greatest challenges in safeguarding human rights, eradicating poverty, promoting social equality and optimizing sustainable development. There is a strong correlation between levels of conflict and gender inequality. To date, conflict and violence have been the most important factors obstructing progress on the Millennium Developments Goals, including the Millennium Developments Goals for women and girls, because violence reduces their access to healthcare and welfare services, economic opportunities and political participation. Rising tensions threaten social cohesion and the rule of law. During the phase of post-war reconstruction, nations are often fragile and present power vacuums that facilitate the rise of extremist groups. It is also in the post-conflict environment that pre-war gender attitudes are once again adopted.