International Women’s Day 2020: Feminists united for generation equality

08/03/2020 - Scaling down of CSW64 must not derail action for gender equality

Women's march

Marches demonstrate for gender equality in Brussels

On International Women's Day PES Women joins the global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and we echo calls for action to accelerate gender equality.

This year is a crucial milestone for the global feminist movement as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995. A quarter of a century has passed, but the issues the declaration addressed persist and are more important than ever - we live in a time of instability with a growing backlash against women’s rights and gender equality.

A review and appraisal of the Declaration’s implementation was supposed to happen at the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), taking place in New York from 9-20 March. But the gathering – one of the biggest meetings of women’s organisations at the global level - has been significantly down-sized because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Instead, a one-day procedural meeting with member states’ New York-based representatives will take place.

While this happened because of extraordinary circumstance, we stand in solidarity with all the feminist organisations which invested immense time, effort and financial resources in events which will now no-longer go ahead. Many will not be compensated for the cancellation.

Civil society organisations are the backbone of the global women’s movement and the UN should find an alternative way to make their voices heard. We are backing the letter sent by over 200 civil society organisations supporting the postponement of CSW64, and the possible reconvention prior to the UN General Assembly in September 2020.

While this unique moment for women and civil society organisations from all around the world won’t be realised for now, it does not change the fact that this year is supposed to kick-off a century of accelerating rights for women, in all their diversity.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 are just two of many benchmarks to meet - the struggle for gender equality is far from over. That is why we need to continue to speak out for and with the unheard, fight for the underprivileged and underrepresented women, and demand accountability and change from those in power. Together, we can challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and improve policies.

Collectively, we can make change happen and help to create gender-sensitive and equal societies. On International Women’s Day and throughout the year, PES Women stands in solidarity, raises awareness, and challenges patriarchy together with everyone who wants to create a gender-equal world. We will continue the constant dialogue with feminist civil society and will keep on pushing legislations and progress to improve the lives of all women in Europe and beyond. This change needs to happen from the way we talk, think, and act every day, how we raise children, what we prioritise and how we do politics. We call on the global community to mark this day: Feminists, unite – it’s time for generation equality!