Update on the Fourth World Conference on Women

A Look at the World Through Women's Eyes

by Karen Johnson

Johnson to attend Beijing Conference.

In less than nine months, the Fourth World Conference on Women will occur in Beijing, China and an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 women and a few good men will attend.

 The conference, which meets from Aug. 30 through Sept. 15, occurs in two parts. First, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) will have a forum from Aug. 30 through Sept. 8. Then the United Nations member states official delegates will meet from Sept. 4 through Sept. 15.

 The NGO Forum will include plenary sessions and workshops. The two goals of the Forum are to: (1) influence the "Platform for Action" that the U.N. member states will adopt in Beijing and (2) educate and celebrate women's global vision and strategy for the next century. The Forum's theme is also a challenge to "Look at the world through women's eyes."

 The United Nation's official conference beginning Sept. 4, will be similar to the International Conference on Population and Development in terms of structure and process. The goal of the U.N. member states is to adopt a Platform for Action, for women.

 Individuals planning to attend the NGO Forum must register by Apr. 30. Even if you are accredited to attend the official U.N. Conference, individuals must still register for access to the Forum. For registrations forms and more information contact: NGO Forum on Women, Beijing '95, 211 East 43rd St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10017, or call either 212-922-9267 or 212-922-9268.

 To attend the official conference you must be accredited by the United Nations by Jan. 13. Registration for the NGO Forum does not give you access to the U.N. Conference. For applications for accreditation to the U.N. Conference contact: NGO Accreditation, U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, 2 U.N. Plaza, Room 1024, New York NY 10017, or call 212-963-8034.

 Activists can be involved in the Fourth World Conference for Women without going to China. Much of the language on the Platform for Action will be agreed upon during preparatory meetings for the conference, Mar. 15 through Apr. 5, at the United Nations in New York. Representatives of NGOs in the United States do have an opportunity to solicit the support of their U.N. representative and provide input into desired language for the Platform for Action.

The State Department has established a Global Conference Secretariat in Washington D. C. To obtain a copy of the draft of the Platform for Action call the Conference Secretariat at 202-647-3129. To suggest language for the Platform for Action, fax your recommendations to the Conference Secretariat at 202-647-4787.

 NOW is a member organization of the U.S. Network for the Fourth World Conference On Women And Beyond (U.S. Network for Women). The network will work to: advocate for policy changes based on the Platform for Action; advocate for the ratification of the convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); educate the public about the Conference; and network with organizations locally and globally that work for women's empowerment.

 Dr. Sarah Moten of the National Council of Negro Women and Eleanor Smeal, president of The Fund for the Feminist Majority are co-chairs of the Network. Individuals as well as organizations may join the network. For more information and membership applications contact: U.S. Network for the Fourth World Conference for Women and Beyond, National Council for Negro Women, 1001 G Street N.W., Suite 800, Washington D.C. 20001, or call 202-628- 0015.

Karen Johnson, National Secretary, represents NOW on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Committee for Beijing

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