At the UNWomen 20th anniversary celebration of the Beijing Platform for Action this week Hillary Clinton said that “Twenty years ago, declaring that women’s rights are human rights was considered ground-breaking – thankfully it’s now routine.” However, it was the question of a bright young 14-year-old girl from Canada that I met at the Girls Advocacy Round Table that got me thinking more: “Can you tell me what happened? From the ambition in the BfA 20 years ago to the disappointing Political Declaration of this week and the Working Methods that are under threat as well?”
And I don’t have the answers. I might philosophize on how the world has developed from the optimism after the fall of the Berlin Wall to the fear that we allow ourselves to be captured in after 9/11 and the current state of affairs with terrorist attacks abundant. But no matter how you analyze the history of the mindset of the world, the sad reality is that it is still necessary to rally for the rights of women and girls. So it’s one thing to have the phrase women ánd girls in the Political Declaration, a bright spot in the otherwise disappointing text, it’s another to bring about the much needed change.