In early February, more than 60 feminists from 31 countries and 47 nongovernmental organizations gathered in upstate New York over three days to meet, strategize, and collaborate on a common feminist agenda for the next two years. The historic meeting resulted in a call to action to world leaders to prioritize gender equality and women’s human rights in order to achieve sustainable development. This hard-hitting declaration has now been endorsed by nearly 350 organizations, representing millions of women and girls around the world.
Specifically, activists demand that world leaders create a stand-alone goal for achieving gender equality as part of the new sustainable development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Activists also insist that governments include gender-specific targets and indicators across all development goals, strategies, and objectives.
As we approach the 2015 deadline for the MDGs, it is clear that the goals furthest from being achieved are those focused on women and girls. This is a direct result of persistent gender inequalities, inadequate investment by governments into sexual and reproductive health and rights education and services, and a failure to address discriminatory social norms and practices, including early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, and discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.
The feminist declaration addresses a broad range of issues that impact the lives of women and girls—from armed conflict to environmental degradation, discrimination to poverty, lack of access to education to poor health services. The declaration calls on world leaders to commit to the following goals:
Underpinning the feminist declaration is the call for meaningful participation of women in the design, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of development goals. Activists also urge world leaders to prioritize public financing over public-private partnerships to increase transparency and accountability in the implementation of any sustainable development framework.
IWHC helped convene the landmark meeting and supported activists from Latin America, Africa, and Asia to participate in this critical moment for feminists.
Activists will use the declaration during upcoming government negotiations at the Commission on the Status of Women in March and the Commission on Population and Development, which will convene at the UN in April to assess progress on the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action.
If your organization would like to endorse the declaration, email the organization’s name and country to firstname.lastname@example.org.