Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,
Fourth World Conference on Women,
15 September 1995, A/CONF.177/20 (1995) and A/CONF.177/20/Add.1 (1995).

Chapter III

43. The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women's issue. They are the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. Empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples.

44. Most of the goals set out in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women have not been achieved. Barriers to women's empowerment remain, despite the efforts of Governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and women and men everywhere. Vast political, economic and ecological crises persist in many parts of the world. Among them are wars of aggression, armed conflicts, colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, civil wars and terrorism. These situations, combined with systematic or de facto discrimination, violations of and failure to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women, and their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development and ingrained prejudicial attitudes towards women and girls are but a few of the impediments encountered since the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, in 1985.

45. A review of progress since the Nairobi Conference highlights special concerns - areas of particular urgency that stand out as priorities for action. All actors should focus action and resources on the strategic objectives relating to the critical areas of concern which are, necessarily, interrelated, interdependent and of high priority. There is a need for these actors to develop and implement mechanisms of accountability for all the areas of concern.

46. To this end, Governments, the international community and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, are called upon to take strategic action in the following critical areas of concern:

-The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women

-Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training

-Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services

-Violence against women

-The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation

-Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources

-Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels

-Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women

-Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women

-Stereotyping of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media

-Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment

-Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child