Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joins new Beijing+25 initiative
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one of 25 women leaders from around the world taking part in the new Beijing+25 Initiative, launched by The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS) and The Rockefeller Foundation, in collaboration with former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In 1995, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women hosted 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists in Beijing, in one of the largest meetings ever held to promote women’s rights. The outcome of the conference was an action plan that aimed, “To advance goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity.” (Beijing Declaration, 1995).
In the 25 years since the 1995 gathering, there has been significant improvement in the status of women around the world. However, there is still a long way to go. The Beijing+25 initiative aims to provide a strategic review of the Beijing Declaration and make recommendations for a framework that could shape the next century.
The initiative will pay particular attention to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on women and girls, highlighting the importance of boosting gender equality in tangible ways. From providing support to healthcare workers—the majority of whom are women—to supporting women in public leadership, there is a great deal to be done.
At the launch, Secretary Clinton noted the renewed sense of urgency for change, saying:
“We are at a moment of reckoning when it comes to the roles of women in economies, governments, societies, and our own homes and families…We’re seeing a global groundswell of women demanding racial equality, gender equality, human rights, and more. When it comes to the work ahead of us, we need to be even bolder and more ambitious than we were 25 years ago in Beijing. And that’s where ‘generation equality’ comes in.”
Over the summer, Madam Sirleaf will work alongside the other women leaders taking part in the initiative to identify the largest gaps in progress on the Beijing Platform and the most promising opportunities to accelerate the closing of these gaps. Their goal will be to create a new galvanizing call to action for the global community and to deliver on the promise of gender equality across all geographies and sectors.
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