Alia El-Yassir: “Change-makers of all ages are needed to tackle the unfinished business of empowering women"

Date: Friday, September 20, 2019

About the author

Alia El-Yassir, Regional Director of UN Women Europe and Central Asia
Alia El-Yassir, Regional Director of UN Women Europe and Central Asia. Photo: DESA Public Institutions 


Alia El-Yassir is UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia since September 2018. She has been working with UNIFEM/UN Women since 1997.

Blog post, by the Regional Director of UN Women Europe and Central Asia

2020 is a pivotal year. It marks 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which produced a visionary global agenda to empower women and girls. This largest gathering of gender equality advocates was monumental because of its Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by 189 governments, that committed them to removing the systemic barriers that hold women and girls back from equal participation in all areas of life.

The Platform for Action calls on all stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, the private sector and regional and international organizations, to take strategic and bold actions in 12 critical areas: poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms to advance gender equality, human rights, media, the environment, and the girl-child.

Aside from commemorating the Beijing “moment”, 2020 also marks five years of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Next year will be a critical time to take stock of where we are and how far we have come. It is also the right moment to reflect on what more is needed to fulfill the ambitions enshrined in the Platform for Action and making 2030 the cut-off date for ending gender inequality.

Via our Beijing+25 regional campaign, we will bring together the next generation of women’s rights activists with the gender equality advocates and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the Beijing Platform for Action more than two decades ago. We believe that change-makers of all ages and backgrounds are needed to tackle the unfinished business of empowering women and girls across the Europe and Central Asia region, to make sure that no one is left behind.

Through the voices of 12 women from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Ukraine, we will explore the 12 areas of concern highlighted in Beijing 25 years ago.

We hope that you will follow the stories of these women over the next few weeks to learn about each individual journey, their challenges and struggles, successes and triumphs. We hope that it helps to continue the conversation started in Beijing – and begin news ones to make sure that gender equality becomes a reality for all.