Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing+20 Review Process

Equality Now
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This is the fourth edition report of Equality Now’s ongoing global advocacy campaign to hold governments accountable to the pledge made at the historic UN 4th World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) to advance women's rights, achieve gender equality, and end sex discrimination in the law. At the conference 189 governments agreed on a comprehensive roadmap – the Beijing Platform for Action – to advance women’s rights and achieve gender equality. In this Beijing+20 edition of our report, and in the previous editions, a geographic sampling of explicitly sex discriminatory laws relating to marital status (marriage, divorce, polygamy, wife obedience), personal status (citizenship, weight of court testimony, travel, prostitution), economic status (inheritance, property, employment) and in addressing violence against women  (rape, domestic violence, “honor” killings) are highlighted to plainly show the unequal treatment of women and girls in the law and the disrespect of governments for the fundamental right of women and girls to equality and an official endorsement of women and girls as people of lesser worth. Contact information for the applicable heads of state is also given to allow people to call on them to amend or repeal the law. More than half of the laws highlighted in the 1999, 2004 and 2010 reports have been fully or partially repealed or amended.

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