Gender equality remains an unfulfilled promise that affects all humanity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out the fundamental bases of universal freedoms, equality and rights in 1948. During the 1970s and 1980s, discussions in civil society, governments and United Nations agencies focused on increasing attention, developing protection mechanisms and dedicating resources to advance women’s equity and social justice. These debates on international norms and standards led to the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1979. It established a critical reference point underscoring the importance of gender equality in development, with an explicit focus on reducing discrimination against women. It was followed by the Beijing Platform of Action in 1995, which enshrined ‘gender mainstreaming’ as a central tenet of all development activity. But disappointingly, more than three decades later, gender equality remains an elusive goal.

Related Subject(s): Women and Gender Issues
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