Press release: Feminist civil society organization addressing Heads of State at UNGA75 – “We need you all to push back against this push back!” 

Embargoed until 10 AM EST, 1 October 2020
Press release
1 October 2020
United Nations, New York, USA

Feminist civil society organization addressing Heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the 25th Anniversary of Beijing Women’s Conference, calling to push back against the push back.

On 1 October 2020, under the theme, “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls” the UN General Assembly convenes a high-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women. During the High-Level meeting Heads of State including female leaders Ursula von der Leyen (President EU), Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia), Simonetta Sommaruga (Switzerland), Sauli Niinistö (Finland) Bidhya Devi Bhandari (Nepal) Salome Zourabichvili (Georgia), Epsy Campbell Barr (Costa Rica), Marta Lucia Ramirez (Colombia) Erna Solberg (Norway) Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh), Mette Frederiksen (Denmark) Angela Merkel (Germany) and others such as Minister Sigrid Kaag (Netherlands), will present concrete actions and commitments.

Before the Heads of State, Sascha Gabizon, director of  Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), has been invited to speak to the governments with some key demands from feminists to call for strengthened commitments for women’s rights.  The live  event can be seen on UN Wed TV at 9:00 am New York time, Oct 1st.

Sascha Gabizon was one of the 30,000 participants in Beijing at the 4th World Conference on Women, which has given us a historic commitment for gender equality and galvanised global feminist solidarity.

“However, now 25 years later, in many countries, instead of progress we see regress. Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights are under attack, such as the right to safe abortion. We see ‘women human rights defenders’, indigenous women, women of colour, trans women, imprisoned, assassinated, being discriminated against”, says Sascha Gabizon “We need you all to push back against this push back! We call on you to implement your commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Beijing Platform for Action and Declaration (BPfA); the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 5; the Aarhus Convention on the right to participation; the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women, as well as ratify the new ILO Convention 190 to end violence and harassment in the world of work”.

Sascha Gabizon adds “We want to build better; we want to build forward. We call on you to divest from plastics, hormone disrupting chemicals, pesticides, fossil-fuel and nuclear industries and instead invest the COVID recovery funds into a just transition for workers, creating gender-equitable jobs in a green economy.” WECF has plentiful examples of what that gender-equitable green transition can look like. “Feminists want system change now!” she concludes.

Feminist civil society organisations, like WECF, are supporting UN Women with the Generation Equality campaign and Forums, which are bringing together gender-champion countries that want to accelerate gender equality and women’s rights.The Generation Equality Forums and the resulting Action Coalitions are bringing together all sectors of society to implement action during the coming 5 years, see UN Women’s website for more info.

Sascha Gabizon at the regional Beijing+25 meeting in Geneva October 2019. Photo credit: UN Women / Antoine Tardy

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About WECF

We are a nonprofit network dedicated to a gender just and healthy planet for all. Our international network consists of over 150 women’s and civil society organisations implementing projects in 50 countries. We believe in feminist solutions based on our partners’ visions and needs. That is why we work on transformative gender equality and women’s human rights in interconnection with climate justice. Note: Sascha Gabizon is speaking as a civil society representative to the UN, on behalf of the WECF network.

Media contacts

  • Hanna Gunnarsson | hanna.gunnarsson@wecf.org | Phone: +49 152 040 585 73 | Languages: English, Swedish
  • Dr. Anke Stock | anke.stock@wecf.org | Languages English, German