By Oluwatobi Ayodele
On the 15 September 1995, Nigeria joined over 40,000 government delegates, experts and civil society representatives at the Fourth World Conference on Women. The outcome of this Conference is what is till date known as the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.
The Beijing Declaration embodies the commitment of the international community to achieve gender equality and to provide better opportunities for women and girls.
The platform of action responds to the collective effort of women and girls around the globe who have fought to achieve gender equality and women’s rights and acts as a continuum of the international community’s commitment to address civil, political, social, economic and cultural inequalities.
It remains relevant today, affirming that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefits everyone.
To ensure the accountability on the commitments of the Platform of Action, periodic reviews have been done by grassroots, local, national, regional and global level CSOs, individuals, government and private bodies.
The Beijing Platform for Action flagged 12 critical areas of concern where urgent actions were needed to ensure equal access to all opportunities for women and girls, men and boys, in all diversities.
Africa as a continent have also been part of this global commitment to achieve gender equality.
A recent Africa regional reviewed by the Economic Commission for Africa, UN Women and Africa Union Commission celebrates the progress made in promoting and protecting the rights of Africa’s women and girls while recognizing gaps and slow progress in political, social and economic inclusion.
However, we must admit the causes of slow progress for African women which are poverty, social exclusion especially in decision-making, political and economic opportunities.
Due to the exacerbation of gender inequalities as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, the Generation Equality Forum was organized by the UN, governments, corporations and change makers from around the world to define and announce ambitious investments and policies.
The Forum which took place in Mexico and Paris in March and June respectively had $40 billion in pledges from UN member state and international organizations, private sector and philanthropies to support its global agenda to achieve gender equality.
Unfortunately, at both forums, there was no funding commitment, pledge or statement from the Nigerian government. The silence from the government at such a critical time especially for Nigerian women and girls whose lives are at higher risk of all forms of violence and victims of insurgency, conflicts and bandits’ attacks is not acceptable.
In 2019, Vision Spring Initiatives began plan to review progress in implementing commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action in Nigeria since 1995.
VSI acknowledged that there are existing reviews done on the Beijing+25 in Nigeria, however, the voices of young people in all their diversities have not been strong in the reviews. Hence, the importance of this document which contains the contribution of 11 young Nigerian women and 1 young man, all from diverse social demographics.
This document also reviewed the 12 critical areas of concern with an intersectional and inclusive approach in light of the recent global Covid-19 pandemic, economic downturn, increase in technology usage and rise in insurgency in Nigeria.
In July 2021, VSI launched 25 years after Beijing: Perspectives of Young Nigerian Women to address the 12 critical areas of concern which are Women and poverty, Education and training of women and girls, Women and health, Violence against women and girls, Women and armed conflict, Women and the economy, Women in power and decision-making, Institutional mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women, Human rights of women, Women and the media, Women and the environment, and The girl child.
To download the document for free use the link: https://visionspringinitiatives.org/25-years-after-beijing-perspectives-of-young-nigerian-women/