Beijing plus 10: An ambivalent record on gender justice

Beijing plus 10: An ambivalent record on gender justice

Author: 
Molyneux, Maxine
Place: 
Geneva
Publisher: 
UNRISD
Phys descriptions: 
ix, 27p.
Date published: 
2006
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Razavi, Shahra, jt. author
ISBN: 
9290850698
Call No: 
396.1 MOL
Abstract: 

The 1995 Forth World Conference on Women (“ the Beijing Conference”) was a landmark in policy terms, setting a global policy framework to advance gender equality. Ten years after Beijing, in March 2005 the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women presided over an intergovernmental meeting in New York to review the progress achieved on the commitments made in the Bejing Declaration and Platform for Action. This “Plus Ten” event was decidedly low Drowing on a key. Its aim was not agenda setting but agenda confirming; not policy formulation, but policy affirmation. Whether it proves to be part of an ongoing worldwide movement in support of gender equality, or whether it marks the decline of that process, is a question that many in international women’s movements are asking. This paper, drawing on research undertaken for the UNRISD report, gender Equality: Starving for Justice in an Unequal World, reflects on the ambivalent record progress achieved by women over the last decades and considers how the policy environment has changed over the period since the high point of the global women’s movements. Drawing on a number of commonly employed indicators of“ “women” progress”, the paper argues that the record of achievement regarding gender equality is more ambivalent, and the causal influence more diverse and less unidirectional than is sometimes assumed. It also argues that development polices have an important role to play in securing outcomes, and that the first phase of the structural reforms (dating from the early 1980’s ) was in many respects negative for women. In the ten years since the Beijing Conference there have been some significant shifts in international development policy along with a growing appreciation of the need to develop gender aware policies. By the end of the 1980’s, “market fundamentalism” and shock therapy had lost much of their appeal, opening up a space for new ideas and approaches in development policy practice. Growing discontent over the social effects of the reforms, as well as criticism from leading economists in the international financial institutions have brought about a policy shift, which is sometimes referred to as the “post Washington Consensus”. The new policies have shown a willingness to give social and political concerns greater attention, expressed under indicative headings such as “social capital” and “good governance.” Social policy and, in particular, poverty relief moved up the scale of international priorities in the 1990’s. But behind the apparent consensus forged by a shared vocabulary of” poverty reduction” and “social protection”, there are conflicting understandings of social policy based on different values, priorities and understanding’s of social policy based on different values, priorities and understanding’s of state responsibility. There are serious concerns over whether sustainable routes out of poverty are being provided or can be provided in the absence of appropriate job creation measures and regional regeneration. Given women’s greater share of responsibility for unpaid care work and their less advantageous access to cash and income-earning opportunities, the redefinition of state responsibility and the greater role given to market forces are likely to impact are likely to impact adversely on their time and their access to social benefits.

Language: 
Series: 
Occasional paper 15

CITATION: Molyneux, Maxine. Beijing plus 10: An ambivalent record on gender justice . Geneva : UNRISD , 2006. - Available at: http://library.au.int/beijing-plus-10-ambivalent-record-gender-justice-3