UN Women launches global campaign in Australia

During her visit to Australia, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will launch the Beijing +20 Campaign. Hosted by Senator, the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, the event will focus on how Australians can be involved in a global conversation about the achievements of the historic Beijing Conference of 1995, which was a cornerstone for women’s rights.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by 189 countries including Australia, remains the defining framework for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights. UN Women has launched a powerful new public mobilisation campaign in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which will be marked in 2015.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the Australian Government welcomed the global Beijing +20 campaign led by UN Women, which focuses on the 12 critical areas of concern outlined in the Platform for Action.

Four of these areas of concern are highlighted by the Australian Beijing +20 campaign and reflect the Australian Government’s priorities in the women’s portfolio, including: eliminating violence against women, advancing economic empowerment and opportunity, women’s leadership, and involving women in peace and security processes.

“These focus areas can improve the lives of women in our region and will ensure we don’t wait another twenty years until gender equality becomes a reality,” Minister Cash said. “The Australian Government is pleased to be working closely with UN Women globally to support women and girls.”

The 20th anniversary of Beijing comes at a critical moment: as the Millennium Development Goals timeline expires in 2015, and the international community turns its attention to the post-2015 development agenda, it is urgent that government, civil society and business ramp up efforts to accelerate gender equality.

Driving comprehensive and transformative changes in the lives of women in the post-2015 development agenda is high among UN Women’s priorities.

“20 years ago, leaders had a vision for gender equality which set the tone for global conversations. The right to live free from violence, to access economic opportunity and leadership roles were central to that vision. 20 years on, progress has definitely been made, but it remains too slow,” said Julie McKay, Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women.

The Australian National Committee for UN Women is coordinating the Beijing +20 Campaign in Australia, which will include public events, community education and diverse media platforms to enable the community to reflect on and state their views about how far we’ve come towards achieving gender equality since 1995 – and how far we still have to go.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. From 2005 to 2008, Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka served as Deputy President of South Africa, and she has held numerous roles across the public and private sector since being elected as a Member of Parliament as part of South Africa’s first democratic government from 1994 to 1996.