Women’s Human Rights and Gender Justice in the post-2015 era: the role of WIDE+ and feminist organizations

A two-days programme on 17-18 June in Barcelona, Spain

The public panel in the evening of 17 June and the full day WIDE+ meeting will give members and strategic allies a chance to deeply reflect and discuss these questions in a highly participatory manner. The public panel is an open event; the WIDE+ meeting is for invited WIDE+ members and strategic allies.

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2015 is an important year for the future of international development. States around the world plan to commit themselves to new development goals in several key development agendas. It could have also become the year in which governments realise new global commitments to respect, protect and enforce women’s human rights, since it celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Declaration and Platform for Action Agenda agreed upon in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. After 20 years of reviewing the implementation of the BPfA and other agendas around women’s rights, feminist networks and CSOs have to take their time to reflect on the concepts and strategies enshrined in the BPfA: the paradigm of women’s human rights, of gender equality and state-CSO-partnership.

It remains an ongoing struggle to keep discourses, laws and policies that foster gender justice in place. In the post-2015 era, feminist groups and networks are confronted with a new configuration of dominant policies, discourses and alliances that undercut women’s human rights. Not only that countries like Iran, the Holy See and Russia, among others, are successful at the UN pushing back any new global commitments to Sexual / Reproductive Health and Rights; neo-conservative parties at the EU parliament block progressive gender policies; and conservative forces and religious fundamentalist organisations from among the civil society challenge sexual orientations and gender identities. At the same time, neo-liberal policies that EU decision makers push forward, attack livelihood security through external trade and investment policies, land grabbing and resource extractivism, and they increase the unpaid care burden on mostly women by austerity policies and privatization. These are some illustrations of an underlying trend to slow down, stop, or even reverse progress in women’s human rights.

Feminist networks and groups, such as WIDE+, are confronted with questions about the strategic viability of the Beijing-paradigm under changed power relations. If it is currently so difficult to advance the implementation and progress on commitments, should we opt for new strategic avenues and reformulate our feminist agendas? What are key issues we should focus on as feminists? And what can we concretely do to advocate for the future of the women’s rights paradigm in the post-2015 agenda?

The events have been made possible thanks to the financial support from the Catalan Agency for Development (ACCD) and others.

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