Gender Equality: Great Strides, But More Work Ahead
By Alison Holder via US News
"We are done talking." The words of young advocate Shantel Marekera, who spoke alongside world leaders at the opening ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum last week in Paris, sum up the theme of this landmark gender equality event. As women's rights activists from around the world gathered in Paris and virtually, their calls for action, funding, and accountability for commitments were loud, consistent, and clear. Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also led to incredible regressions in gender equality (President Emmanuel Macron of France described COVID as an "anti-feminist virus"), the activists' calls were also urgent.
The Generation Equality Forum in Paris came 26 years after the Beijing conference, where 189 countries agreed to the most progressive and ambitious blueprint ever for action on women's rights. It was in Beijing in 1995 that Hillary Clinton made the watershed statement that "Women's rights are human rights. And human rights are women's rights." And last week, Clinton joined U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Macron and other global leaders at the forum in Paris to remind us of those words.
As the three-day Generation Equality Forum came to a close, what prospect for gender equality activists' demands that governments and other powerful actors "stop talking and start funding"?