On 24–26 April, Tunisia will host the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality, gathering representatives of governments, civil society, business and academia from around the world to strengthen global gender equality efforts. The Forum has been co-organised by the Government of Tunisia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women.
The Forum follows up the major Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality held in April 2018 (https://genderequalworld.com/).
The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality will specifically focus on young actors. A significant proportion of participants are expected to be under the age of 35. Including young people in gender equality efforts and encouraging their participation is key. Efforts to advance gender equality must take place in all sectors of society, and involve the greatest possible diversity of people. This contributes to many different approaches and perspectives, and enables the exchange of experiences and new ideas.
The increasingly difficult climate for gender issues at present makes the Tunis Forum an important opportunity to gather actors from around the globe to exchange ideas on advancing gender equality. Protecting and promoting women’s and girls’ rights, not least sexual and reproductive health and rights, is more important than ever, as some of these rights are currently being challenged.
Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ouided Bouchamaoui and spoken word artist Ana Paz are expected to take part in the Forum.
The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality will focus on four main areas:
- next year’s 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and global gender equality efforts: taking stock of the progress made and shaping the path forward;
- the importance of greater gender equality in local governance;
- women, peace and security, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325; and
- innovation, technology and women’s economic empowerment.
Together, these four focus areas comprise important components in the continuing advancement of gender equality efforts. As part of this, the Forum will help to highlight the upcoming anniversaries of several important gender equality declarations, conferences and resolutions, including the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution on women, peace and security.
This year also marks 100 years since women gained the right to vote in Sweden and 60 years since women gained the vote in Tunisia.
These anniversaries show that the rights of women and girls have increased in recent decades, but much remains to be done before women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys. This is why it is more important than ever to mobilise and cooperate to ensure greater gender equality in the world. The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality provides an opportunity to evaluate our efforts to date and to look ahead and organise the work that remains to be done to make gender equality a lived reality for people everywhere.