This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September, 1995. At that Conference, the U.N. member states unanimously endorsed a platform for Action to promote gender equality and empower women. In the twenty years since BeUing, much progress has been made in closing gender gaps: maternal mortality has steadily declined, girls have achieved parity with boys in school enrolment in many countries, and policy makers in many developing countries have become forceful advocates of the need to promote gender equality – both because of its intrinsic value and as a means to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty.
Yet much work still remains to be done. Violence against women remains endemic, women face continuing challenges as workers and as entrepreneurs, and in many countries women do not have equal voice in household, community, workplace or national decision-making.
We, the undersigned Heads of the Multilateral Development Banks and International Monetary Fund, reaffirm our commitment to support member states in continuing to implement the Beijing Platform for Action in the current, challenging post-crisis context. We also recognize that there are new opportunities to be seized in order to promote gender equality around the world, including the forthcoming Sustainable Development coals and their commitments to gender equality.
As our institutions work to promote gender equality in the countries where we operate, we also take note of the mounting evidence that organizations with diverse workforces outperform others. Thus, we commit ourselves to promoting diversity and inclusion in our own organizations, both because it is the right thing to do and because it will allow us to be more effective in promoting inclusive development.
We call on all other international development and financial institutions to join us in this commitment to continue promoting gender equality around the world.