March 8, 2015

On the eve of the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, nearly 1,000 women’s rights and feminist groups worldwide are calling for a transformative agenda to ensure that all women and girls can fully exercise their human rights, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.

At this moment in history, women and girls face extraordinary and unprecedented challenges, including rising fundamentalisms, violent extremism, increased number of displaced persons, climate change, and increasing inequalities within and between countries, among others. The evidence is clear: women and girls suffer the disproportionate impact of these challenges and without real commitment and resources to address them, gender equality and the full realization of the human rights of women and girls is a pipe dream.

On March 9, UN Member States are expected to adopt a Political Declaration to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women. The voices of women’s groups have been excluded from this declaration. This is unacceptable. Progress has occurred not because of the benevolence of governments, but because feminist organizations and women human rights defenders have fought for it, every step of the way.

Today, as thousands gather outside UN headquarters in New York to mark International Women’s Day, feminists are loudly proclaiming, “Nothing about us, without us.”

The full statement of women’s rights organizations in response to the draft Political Declaration is available in English, French, and Spanish at: https://iwhc.org/resource/womens-statement-20th-anniversary-fourth-world-conference-women/.