fifteen years ago at the fourth world conference on women. governments pledged to advance equality, development and peace for all women everywhere. the landmark beijing declaration has had a deep and wide-ranging impact. it has guided policymaking and inspired new national laws. it has sent a clear message to women and girls around the world that equality and opportunity are their inalienable rights.
there are many examples of progress, thanks in large part to the resolute efforts of civil society organizations. a growing number of countries have legislation that
supports sexual and reproductive health and promotes gender equality.
nonetheless, much work remains. maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, too few women have access to family planning, and violence against women remains
a cause for global shame. in particular, sexual violence during conflict is endemic. one key lesson of the past decade and a half is the importance of addressing broader discrimination and injustice. gender stereotyping and discrimination remain common in all cultures and communities. early and forced marriage. sexual abuse and trafficking of young women and girls are disturbingly prevalent and, in some areas, on the rise. whether looking through the lens of poverty. or in times of disaster, we see that women still bear the greatest burden.