2020 has marked the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995). African Women have been at the frontline in the Fourth World Conference on Women and integrated the continental perspective in the process ensuring that the needs, potential and issues of African women were duly incorporated.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing pressure from civil society on the UN to host a 5th World Conference on Women and assess progress since the 4th Conference, taking into account multiple developments at the international level, such as the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the institutionalisation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda through United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and other resolutions.
Taking this into account, civil society organisations together with the UN Women launched the ground-breaking, multi-generational advocacy campaign: “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future”, aiming to bring together the next generations of women’s rights activists with the gender equality advocates and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the Beijing Platform for Action more than two decades ago.
The launch of this campaign led to the establishment of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) which is a global gathering for gender equality, convened by the UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, with the leadership and partnership of civil society. The GEF is aimed at taking stock of progress since the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, discussing concrete actions for the realization of gender equality before 2030.
In light of the provided context, 2020 has marked inevitably a pivotal year to assess the remarkable results and achievements of the past 25 years, while drawing the next steps to engage in achieving gender equality and contributing to the GEF. This remains more relevant with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the divide with those being digitally disconnected from the conversation. As an attempt to bring closer African Young Women to the global phora offered by the GEF, the Office of the, African Union Special Envoy on Youth occupied by Ms Aya Chebbi at the time, in October 2020, convened Africa Young Women Beijing+25 Regional Barazas and Global Intergenerational Dialogue, culminated into the Africa Young Women Beijing+25 Manifesto