Sep 17, 2020,
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia What is the most powerful force for constructive change in the 21st Century? Women!
Twenty-five years ago, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was signed and adopted by 189 Member States at the 4th World Women Conference in China. Unmatched in its scope and comprehensiveness, the landmark text symbolized a global awakening to the significant role of women. It was pointed out then by Sir James D. Wolfensohn that “the Twenty-first Century is the Century of Women Leaders. Without this, the world will not survive.”
Twenty-five years later, the advancement of women is still key to all aspects of an equitable, peaceful and sustainable society. While the Beijing Declaration remains to be the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, leaders of the 21st century recognize that continuous efforts need to be made to preserve the success and achieve all developmental goals.
The World Women Organization (WWO) has taken up the challenge of leading critical changes and turning this prediction into reality.
Founded on the belief that women’s overall development is the cornerstone of a peaceful, dignified, and equitable future, WWO partners with The Malaysia Foreign Friendship Alliance (MFFA) to host a two-day virtual conference to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
On September 15th and 16th, 2020, more than 40 world leaders from Malaysia, United States, UK, Austria, China, Japan, Turkey, Italy, New Zealand, Vietnam, the Republic of Benin and Singapore convened virtually despite time zone and location differences. The speakers reiterated the important role of women in global development and, more specifically, in post-COVID-19 social and economic recovery. Over the course of seven hours, world leaders shared can did exchange on the key milestones achieved in gender equality, pointed out existing gaps and room for improvement, and mapped out a new framework for action.
Director-General of the WWO, Angela R.M., has been instrumental in making Malaysia a world-changing role in organizing this conference. Jing Zhao CESARONE, Director of the WWO, provided an overview of the WWO’s mission and vision, as well as a plan for action to achieve women’s overall development.
Hj Mohd Rashid HASNON, Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Malaysia, served as the keynote speaker on the first day. He said, “Malaysia has made tremendous progress in terms of women’s development, including increasing women in high-level positions.” ZHOU Yiping, the Special Envoy and Special Advisor of the World Women Organization and Former Director of the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and Former Special Envoy of United Nations Secretary General for South-South Cooperation, emphasized that “achieving gender harmony is not only a responsibility, it is also a shared promise of mankind.” Sunita Rajakumar, a Global Advisory Board Member of Nottingham University’s School of Business, closed out the first day by stressing “It is essential to find a sustainable balance between women and men.”
In between the two sessions, two parallel events took place in Beijing and Shanghai to further the dialogue of women’s overall development and actions needed to achieve it. Over 532,000 people attended the China special celebration online.
The second day started out with Director Cesarone gave a detailed overview of the first day conference, a review of the twelve key areas of concern in Beijing Declaration, and a reiteration of the WWO’s mission and vision. Followed by the keynote speaker, Dr. Valora Washington, the Former CEO of Council for Professional Recognition, who gave a comprehensive characteristic overview of Generation Alpha and the three major game changers that will transform our society and way of life. The rich conversation concluded with Thomas Gehl’s closing remarks, who called upon everyone to discover the hero/heroine within to start engagement and be a change maker.
Below is a complete list of renowned speakers at the Conference:
• Hj Mohd Rashid HASNON, Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Malaysia
• Miwa KATO, Director of Operations in UNODC Headquarters Former UN Women Regional Director of Asia Pacific
• Yiping ZHOU, Special Envoy and Special Advisor of the World Women Organization, Former Director of the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Former Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for South-South Cooperation
• John W. ALLEN, Former Director of the Business Council for the United Nations
• Faizal YUSAK, General Secretary of Malaysia Foreign Friendship Alliance (MFFA)
• Dr. Padmini MURTHY, MD, Global Health Lead American Medical Women’s Association, Secretary General Medical Women’s International Association
• Simon Pierre ADOVELANDE, Presidential Candidate for 2016 Presidential election in Republic of Benin, Ambassador of Republic of Benin to People’s Republic of China
• Ahmet Mücahit ARINÇ, Member of Parliament of Turkey
• Dorina BIANCHI, Former Deputy Minister of Cultural Assets and Activities and Tourism of Italia, Member of Parliament
• Christiane BOKPE ADOVELANDE, Consultant of Ministry of Family and Social Affairs of Benin
• Simon Pierre ADOVELANDE, 2016 Presidential Candidate of the Republic of Benin, Former Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to China
• Maiko TAJIMA, Member of the House of Councilors of Japan, Served with the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme
• Thomas GEHL, Former Core Member of the US President Bill Clinton’s environmental legal advisory team
• Wale Idris AJIBADE, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of African Views Organization
• Dr. Priscilla LU, Managing Director, Deutsche Asset Management Americas, Inc
• Faroze NADAR, Executive Director of UN Global Compact (Network Malaysia)
• Masato TOMABECHI, Director of Secretaries General Affairs Bureau for House of Representatives of Japan; Member Secretary of Parliament of Japan
Additionally, WWO announced that the Asia Pacific Women’s Leadership Summit will be held during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 Annual Meeting which will be held in Malaysia in November 2020. Participants also made plans for next year’s World Women Conference on Development.
The future of women is the future of humankind. A small step that WWO made over the past two days is a major step towards women’s overall development worldwide. Let us honor this historic occasion with actions to build a better, brighter and more equitable future.