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    The fourth World Conference on Women: a conference of women on the world.

    Gottschalk J


    This report provides commentary on some of main features of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Forum. Despite considerable obstacles from China, poor housing accommodations, and bad weather, nearly 50,000 men and women attended the conference on women. There were 6000 delegates who represented 189 nations, 4030 NGO representatives, and 3245 media representatives. The 1994 women's conference was one of a series of UN conferences (children, human rights, population and development, and social development) held since 1990 on the most urgent social issues. The themes of the women's conference were equality, development, and peace, which were further subdivided into 12 areas. Some of the 12 areas pertained generally to inequalities in access to training, education, health care, inequalities in economic structures, inequalities between men and women in power sharing and decision making, and gender inequalities in management of natural resources and in the media. There was concern for women's poverty, domestic violence, wars' impact on women and children, the advancement of women, stereotyping of women, discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child, and lack of respect for and protection of women's human rights. Accredited NGO participation included roles as monitors and active lobbyists, which was an unprecedented accomplishment. In prior years, NGOs wielded influence through increasingly sophisticated analyses, organization, lobbying strategies, and networking before, during, and after conferences. NGOs at the women's conference effectively organized themselves into teams with a principal focus in order to maximize impact in the complicated process of plenary sessions, main committee meetings, and informal meetings. Many new networks were formed that hold the hope of the development of one world based on peace and justice for all and protection of a fragile ecosystem. The author briefly discusses human rights, inheritance, armed conflict, girls and adolescents, poverty, the environment, and health.
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