[Rights Issues] Beijing+20 Review Meeting, Gender Equality, India’s stand-Caste vs Social origin

Beijing Declaration & Beijing+20 Review Meeting

[Rights Issues] Beijing+20 Review Meeting, Gender Equality, India’s stand-Caste vs Social origin

  1. 1995: Beijing Declaration & Platform for Action
  2. The 12 Key areas of Beijing Declaration
  3. What happened after Beijing 1995?
  4. 2014: Beijing+20 review meeting for Asia-Pacific
  5. India’s stand at Beijing+20 Asia-Pacific meeting
  6. Mock Questions

1995: Beijing Declaration & Platform for Action

  • Since 1975, United Nations has organized 4 world conferences on Women at Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing.
  • 1995: The fourth World conference on Women, at Beijing, China led to “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”.
  • It charted out 12 key areas for women empowerment and protection.

The 12 Key areas of Beijing Declaration

Beijing Declaration & Beijing+20 Review Meeting

A.K.A. truckload of fodder for essays and interviews
1.Environment
  • Environmental degradation increases unremunerated work of women e.g. they have to walk for longer distances to fetch water and firewood.
  • Poverty and environmental degradation are interlinked.
  • Therefore, All states must work for poverty removal, sustainable Development and involve women in policy formulation.
2.Poverty
3.Economy
  • All states must facilitate agriculture loans, land ownership, education and vocational  Development for poor women.
  • adopt gender budgeting and give social security cover / pension to women.
  • Ensure that migrant women and working women are not exploited.
4.Health
  • All states must provide affordable healthcare and family planning to women.
  • Special focus on HIV/AIDS, with help of NGOs.
  • Prevent prenatal sex determination, forced abortion, genital mutilation and other forms of medical abuse.
5.Girl child6.Education-training
  • In every third world country, girl child is discriminated against, from her childhood to adulthood- female infanticide, child marriage, child prostitution, genital mutilation, sexual abuse, incest, child labour and so on.
  • Therefore, all states must remove gender-biased syllabus from books, must ban child labour, increase girls enrollment in primary and higher education, improve their health-nutrition,  and protect them from all forms of abuse.
  • Reduce female illiteracy by 50% compared to 1990’s levels.
  • Ensure atleast 80% of children receive primary education by 2000.
7.Violence
8.Human rights
  • All states must give gender sensitization training to its judicial, police and health officials.
  • Strictly enforce laws to punish and deter the wrongdoers.
  • Create shelters for female victims, provide them medical, legal and vocational assistance.
  • Stop forced marriages, sex-tourism and prostitution.
  • International networking to stop trafficking of women and children.
  • Governments must take all actions to stop violence against women in public and private life.
9.Armed conflicts
  • In armed conflicts, 80% of the refugees are women andchilren.
  • Governments should reduce military Expenditure, and use the money for peaceful development.
  • During armed conflicts, security personnel involved in extrajudicial conflicts (fake-encounters), sexual-abuse, custodial abuse etc. must be punished without velvet glove treatment.
10.Institutional mechanisms
11.Decision-making
  • All states must form institutes to help women participate in policy making at national and regional level.
  • Ensure gender balancing during appointments in Government bodies, judiciary and bureaucracy.
12.Media
  • Allow women freedom of expression on media platform.
  • Setup media watch-groups to ensure there is no gender stereotyping or commodification of women’s bodies in electronic and print media.

What happened after Beijing 1995?

Every 5 years, they review progress on 12-Areas
2000 5-years review of “Beijing platform for action”.
2005 10-years review of “Beijing platform for action”.
2014
November
  • 20 years review for Asia-Pacific region.
  • Meeting held at Bangkok, Thailand, under the aegis of ESCAP:  United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific.
2015
March
  • Beijing+20 review meeting at New York
  • To review the 20 years implementation at National and regional level and do decide Post-2015 action for gender equality.
  • Hence this topic becomes important for  UPSC-2015

2014: Beijing+20 review meeting for Asia-Pacific

At Bangkok, the ministers agreed on following:

Poverty

  1. Migrant women are not given basic labour rights such as union-formation and collective bargaining.
  2. Gender equality is prerequisite to sustainable Development.
  3. We’ve to strictly enforce CEDAW- Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
  4. Many women survive on less than $2 a day. We’ve to solve this persistent feminization of poverty.
  5. At primary school, girl-students have increased but we’ve to ensure they continue till highschool and vocational training. Only then, education will improve economic conditions of women.

Public-Health

  1. We’ve to pay special focus to girl child, indigenous (tribal) women, and disabled women.
  2. Maternal Mortality ratio has declined in Asia, female life expectancy has improved. But challenges still remain: shortage of birth attendants, family planning, unsafe abortions.
  3. We’ve to stop the new cases of HIV infection among females.
  4. Age appropriate sex-education is necessary.

Safety

  1. The police and judicial officers still behave with gender-stereotype mindset.
  2. We’re worried about the rising incidents of sexual crimes, cybercrimes and domestic violence against women. Even medieval practices such as witch-hunting, honor-killing and genital mutilation are reported from some countries.
  3. Internet and Mobile companies need to ensure safety of women. (recall Uber-App Delhi-rape incident)

Decision Making

  1. Some countries have provided women reservation in local-political bodies. We welcome this. But still, women participation is dismal in parliament and corporate governance.
  2. Need to improve gender-budgeting mechanism to stop duplication of schemes and ensure accountability on money spent.
  3. Governments should help NGOs and grassroot organizations working for women rights.

India’s stand at Beijing+20 Asia-Pacific meeting

  1. Yes, our country has deep rooted gender inequalities in education, employment, decision and health care.
  2. Therefore, we are unable to translate economic growth into inclusive development.
  3. But there is no armed conflict in the country. In other words, UN and foreign NGOs need not poke their head in alleged women-abuse during operations against Maoists, secessionists and terrorists in India.
  4. In the ministerial declaration, India forced the panel members to change the word “caste” to “social origin”.
  5. In other words, Caste is not a factor for gender inequality in India (!).  Perhaps this wordplay was done to ensure UN racial discrimination Committees and foreign NGOs do not poke their head in caste-based violence in of India. In 2001 too, India followed the same line: caste-discrimination is not same as racism.
  6. We’ve take many initiative for women safety and women empowerment: Nirbhaya fund, Beti bachao, Janani Suraksha, women reservation in local bodies and so on.

Mock Questions

Q1. Find correct statement(s) about Beijing declaration and platform for action

  1. In 1995, the first Women conference was held in Beijing.
  2. This conference chartered out 15 pillars for gender equality.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q2. Find incorrect statement(s) about Beijing+20 Meeting for Asia Pacific nations.

  1. It was held at Beijing, China in 2014.
  2. Its main purpose was to review the implementation of Beijing Declaration on protection of women during armed conflicts.
  3. It was held under the aegis of UNESCO.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of Them

Q3. At Beijing+20 review meeting for Asia-Pacific countries, government of India ___.

  1. refused existence of gender inequality in India.
  2. refused existence of any armed conflicts in India.
  3. refused existence of “caste” as a factor of gender inequality.

Correct Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q4. Consider following statements about UN-ESCAP

  1. It is one of the five regional Development arms of United Nations
  2. It’s headquarter is located at Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q5. Find correct Pairs

  1. Rio+20: Climate change
  2. Beijing+20: Gender equality
  3. Rio+20: sustainable Development
  4. Beijing+20: Rights of Women and children

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 3 and 4
  4. Only 1 and 4

Mains: General Studies Paper 1

  1. The rigidity of socially ascribed gender role is the main contributing factors to feminization of poverty. Elaborate
  2. Gender equality is the prerequisite to sustainable Development. Elaborate
  3. (GS2) Beijing declaration is considered the watershed document for gender equality in World. Discuss the policies and schemes by Government for its full implementation in India.
  4. (Essay) Equality for women is progress for all. [This was the theme of International Women’s Day 2014]
  5. (Interview) Beijing declaration wants countries to introduce ‘age-appropriate’ sex education. Are you in favour of this? Justify your stand.

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