Latest News

20 Years on from the World Conference on Women in Beijing, How Far Have We Come?

1 November 2014

It has been 20 years since the transformative 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, more commonly known as the Beijing conference, took place. With a flurry of events planned in commemoration of the milestone, there is no better time to reflect on its successes and setbacks, in theory and in practice, from the global to the local.

And so we did, after attending a press conference in Geneva on 27 October on “Global governance and the role of women, twenty years after the Beijing conference”. The event highlighted the importance of global commitments and norms to be implemented into local communities, as well as the importance to also include men in these issues. It also set the stage for next week’s NGO forum Beijing +20 Regional Review, which will take place in Geneva.

What do we have to celebrate?

Women’s rights activists have a lot to be proud of. Progress has been made on legislation, basic education, and the presence of women in decision making across the globe.

We are tackling the Beijing Platform for Action’s 12 key points of concern head on, since many of them align with WILPF’s integrated approach to address the root causes of war. From disarmament to human rights to violence against women, to peace and security, WILPF is on the ball when it comes to monitoring and advocating for women’s rights on a range of playing fields.

20 years on from the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, WILPF has a lot to think about and act on.
20 years on from the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, WILPF has a lot to think about and act on.
The long road ahead

While a lot has been achieved since the Beijing conference, there is still a lot of work ahead with regards to policy implementation, human rights, peace and security, especially without a strong system of accountability to ensure that actors follow through with their commitments.

Moving forward, we need to keep in mind the importance of accountability and resources to establish a framework and create actual implementation of the Beijing Platform.

There are also still huge issues within trafficking, migration, economic effects on women in the economic crisis, values, accountability to commitments and lack of resources as these issues constantly gets the least prioritisation.

What is WILPF going to do next?

We are going to attend next week’s NGO forum Beijing +20 Regional Review, at which participants will discuss and evaluate achievements, identify and analyse barriers, and point to emerging issues regarding women, peace, and security. The NGO forum is vital because it will set the stage for what is still to be done and set recommendations for short and long term goals, starting with the post-2015 Agenda.

We will organise a panel on women and armed conflict at the panel. If you’re in Geneva on 4 November, be sure to come along!

Finally, we will continue applying an integrated approach to our work. A lot has changed in the last 20 years when it comes to advancing women’s rights. But, through it all, WILPF’s work in addressing the roots causes of war through an integrated approach remains as relevant as ever. As was stated at the press conference we attended, we must pay attention to the cultural dimension of gender inequality, and advocate for coherent domestic-international agendas for women’s rights in economic sections, disarmament and peace and security to work towards these goals.

Tell us how you are commemorating the anniversary, and what you think our next steps should be!


Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content