Women’s World Banking President and CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian guestblogged for CFR.org’s Women Around the World blog in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. Many remember this event for Hillary Clinton’s powerful speech where she said, “It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.” Mrs. Clinton’s remarks were a turning point for women’s rights on the international stage—a stage that served as an important catalyst for the financial inclusion of women.
The agenda at Beijing reflected an important shift in the strategies used to achieve women’s equality. No less than one-third of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’s twelve strategic objectives focused on women’s economic participation, placing access to financial services as a critical enabling step to realizing these goals.