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The Fourth World Conference on Women

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Chapter 1: Resolutions Adopted by the Conference

Resolution 1. Annex II - The Beijing Platform for Action

III. Critical Areas of Concern

41. The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women's issue. They are the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. Empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples.

42. Most of the goals set out in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women have not been achieved. Barriers to women's empowerment remain, despite the efforts of Governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and women and men everywhere. Vast political, economic and ecological crises persist in many parts of the world. Among them are wars of aggression, armed conflicts, colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, civil wars and terrorism. These situations, combined with systematic or de facto discrimination, violations of and failure to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women, and their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development and ingrained prejudicial attitudes towards women and girls are but a few of the impediments encountered since the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, in 1985.

43. A review of progress since the Nairobi Conference highlights special concerns - areas of particular urgency that stand out as priorities for action. All actors should focus action and resources on the strategic objectives relating to the critical areas of concern which are, necessarily, interrelated, interdependent and of high priority. There is a need for these actors to develop and implement mechanisms of accountability for all the areas of concern.

44. To this end, Governments, the international community and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, are called upon to take strategic action in the following critical areas of concern:
The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training
Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services
Violence against women
The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation
Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources
Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels
Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women
Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women
Stereotyping of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media
Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment
Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child.

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