On 30th June, world nations gathered in Paris for a 3-day conference dubbed ‘Generation Equality Forum’ to review the achievements of the Beijing Platform for Action and to launch a global acceleration plan for gender equality.
Twenty-Six Years Later
Generation Equality is the most important conference on the empowerment of women since the Beijing Platform for action. Twenty-six years ago, in the famous Beijing Platform for Action, more than 180 countries gathered in Beijing to draw up twelve areas of improvement that were needed to elevate the status of women.
This led to the famous SDG no.5: Gender Equality.
26 years later, The Generation Equality Forum launched six action coalitions and a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, with the aim to accelerate gender equality in the next five years and to face the growing risks to women’s rights caused by Covid-19.
These action coalitions include:
- Gender-Based Violence
- Economic justice and rights
- Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
- Feminist action for climate justice
- Technology and innovation for Gender Equality
- Feminist movements and leadership
A key note of this forum was the need to finance and fund gender equality initiatives because while much has been said, civil society organizations, feminists and relevant agencies who fight for gender equality, like this magazine here have not been funded which makes our work extremely difficult.
Thus, some of the commitments included;
- USD 40 billion+ in new investments benefitting women and girls, with government commitments over the three days expected to total USD 17 billion.
- The implementation of major policy reforms and programmes to advance gender equality. The President of Kenya announced a national strategy and resources to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
- The launch of new coordination mechanisms to advance key issues for gender equality, such as a new Global Alliance on Care and an Alliance to Fund Sustainable Feminist Movements.
Notable present figures and speakers in the forum included our president, Kenyatta who presented commitments to advance gender equality, remove all forms of gender-based violence, and end FGM by 2026. Yea, right!
I urge you to go through this document which you can find here.
Apart from committing to end GBV by 2030, Kenyatta also pledged 23million dollars to fund organizations and movements with sustainable mechanisms for gender equality. You can find his commitment in this video here.
He also promised 1 million dollars every year for GBV research for evidence-based programming.
Question is, how do we get this money??
Watch Party in Kibera
Here in Kenya, Kibera, we had our own watch party on the first day of the forum which was hosted by Kibera Feminists.
More than 30 feminists came together to review the 12 Beijing Platform plans, and draw up their own commitments for achieving gender equality.
I was among the invited and some of our commitments include:
- Document the struggles and successes of feminist movements
- Involve the common woman in this struggle
- Involve LGBT women in this movement
- Start preparations for the equal rights amendment
Food for Thought
While I was observing and listening to the commitments and expectations that fellow feminists have for this new wave of gender equality, thoughts kept on ringing in my head:
How do we ensure that gender equality becomes a reality for all women?
How does generation equality apply to the woman who does our laundry or who sells us groceries?
How do we ensure that all young girls become involved in this movement?
How do we not repeat the mistakes of former feminist movements?
How does this considered-bourgeoise movement apply to the higher percentage of women who do not know that there is something like gender equality?
And I got an opportunity to get feedback from the women who were present; I will soon be sharing them in another article. Wait for it!
Photocredit: Atieno Muyuyi
Freelance Documentary photographer at Atienomuyuyi