Review of Beijing+20: a rhetoric or for real?

January 24, 2015

Asia-Pacific Beijing+20 Ministerial review held in Bangkok in November 19, 2014.

Asia-Pacific Beijing+20 Ministerial review held in Bangkok in November 19, 2014. Image from UN Women

The declaration of Beijing+20 will remain unfulfilled so as long the governments continue to implement profit-driven neoliberal policies that prioritize the interest of the elite and foreign investors over women and people’s interests.

This is according to the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a research, training and advocacy center for women, in a validation forum of the alternative report on the Beijing+20 Review.

“No signing of declaration, like what the Philippine government has done in Beijing Platform, can supersede policies such as privatization of services and liberalization of trade,” says Jojo Guan, CWR executive director.

According to Guan, policies, programs, and strategies continue to block the full development and emancipation of women, thus blurring the real essence of the critical areas of concern stipulated in the Beijing Platform of Action. These concerns include poverty, economy, health, education, VAW, human rights, environment, media, power and decision making, among others.

“The Aquino administration should stop boasting of a growing economy and branding it as inclusive growth for the people. Poverty incidence among women remains  high at 25.6%, despite the implementation of 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), a conditional cash transfer scheme. Six out of ten women are employed in the services sector where 69% receive a daily average wage lower than P270.00,” said Guan.

Data from BLES (Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics) show that 3 million women work in agriculture receiving  an average of P150.00 daily wage. More than four million of women are self-employed or own-account workers such as vendors, beauticians, laundrywoman, among others. More than two million or 16% of women are counted as unpaid family workers. On the other hand, the profit of the 50 richest families in the country comprised 25% or one-fourth of the country’s GDP.

“Social services such as healthcare remain wanting. The government recognizes the high maternal mortality rate at 221 per 100,000 but its perceived solution, like  privatization of 72 public hospitals including maternity hospitals, is contrary to the welfare of the majority of women,” Guan explained.

“Another critical concern of the Beijing Platform is on violence against women. Sadly, despite 37 laws for women, one woman or child is battered every 55 minutes and one woman or child is being raped every one hour and 21 minutes. Worse, 75% of the victims of rape are minors,” said Guan.

According to Guan, poor women are also more vulnerable to abuse and violence and the lack of economic opportunity places them in a position to be controlled by those who are in power like their spouses or any one who is in authority.

“These are only a few examples of how women fared 20 years after Beijing, despite government’s pronouncement of its achievements. Unless a radical shift of policies and programs are made, the declaration of Beijing+20 will remain unfulfilled,” said Guan.

Guan added that for the Beijing Platform to be for real, certain conditions should be put in place, such as eliminating the barriers like the economic framework that is “profit-driven, elite-centered, foreign-controlled and neoliberal” and being cautious of isolating women’s concerns to the rest of the people’s concerns.

Guan recognized that “social support and collective strength are key factors in building movements for genuine social change.”###

Reference: Cham Perez, 4112796, 09331927660