Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s rights at the International Conference on Masculinities and the UN CSW

Reaching planet 50:50 by 2030

On this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8, 2015), activists, governments, NGOs, international agencies and people around the world will reflect on how women, men, boys, girls and gender non-conforming people are faring on the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20), and on what steps need to be taken to ensure that gender parity is realised.

“This year offers a strategic moment to breathe new life into the gender agenda,” writes Keiko Nowacka of the OECD Development Centre in The Guardian, “The synergy between the review of the Beijing Platform and the debates around the targets of goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment of the SDGs opens an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that the promises of 1995 can deliver transformative change for women and girls.”

As the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are about to expire, to be replaced soon by the post-2015 agenda (which will be adopted by the United Nations in September), Sonke and other global gender activists are calling for a standalone transformative gender equality goal in the new sustainable development goals (SDGs), and for gender equality to be integrated into all of the other SDGs.

20 years post Beijing, women are still being paid significantly less than men across the globe,1 and an estimated one in three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.2

In her message for this year’s International Women’s Day, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says gender parity must be reached before 2030, so that the sluggish trajectory of progress that condemns a child born today to wait 80 years before they see an equal world can be reversed. She calls on all countries to “step it up” for gender equality, to reach ‘Planet 50:50’ before 2030.

A Sonke delegation is in New York now to engage on these and other important issues related to gender, gender equality, gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at both the 59th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the International Conference on Masculinities (ICM) which starts on Friday.

Sonke’s Executive Director, Dean Peacock, joins Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and others for an Intergenerational Dialogue Day on Friday March 13th at the United Nations to discuss strategies to accelerate the achievement of gender equality by 2030.

Please see the programme attached for full details about all of our activities in New York, and, for those in or near New York City, please join us at the March for Gender Equality on International Women’s Day (March 8th) where the Sonke delegation will demand (with our banners, signs and voices) that the South African government develop and fund a national strategic plan to end gender-based violence.


    Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., and Gottemoeller, M. 1999. Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No. 11. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Population Information Program.

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