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Beijing Platform for Action. Paragraph 158


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/09/29

158. These trends have been characterized by low wages, little or no labour standards protection, poor working conditions, particularly with regard to women’s occupational health and safety, low skill levels, and a lack of job security and social security, in both the formal and informal sectors. Women’s unemployment is a serious and increasing problem in many countries and sectors. Young workers in the informal and rural sectors and migrant female workers remain the least protected by labour and immigration laws. Women, particularly those who are heads of households with young children, are limited in their employment opportunities for reasons that include inflexible working conditions and inadequate sharing, by men and by society, of family responsibilities.

Beijing Declaration (1995)

The trends described around globalization consist of a number of side consequences, inclusive of women’s rights, as noted in Paragraph 158. Here, we find the low wages for globalized workers a core issue because of the competition enforced on lower wage workers with one another around the world.

In these cases, it leads to situations in which the lack of protections in one country become the bane for another country’s workers. For example, if a nation, A, is well-off and treats workers decently, and if another nation, B, is not well-off and treats workers poorly with low wages and lack of labour standards and/or rights, and if in a globalized network system, then A may be competing with B on a direct service leading to the driving down of the wages and labour standards and/or rights of the workers in A to compete with B.

Happens all the time in 1995 and in the present, there are a number of issues around poor working conditions as well. Similarly, to raise the standards of the working conditions for the worker, this cost finances, time, mental energy; all counting as resources for workers and managers. When these cost finances that others would not be using, we come to the issue of violation of labour rights and standards as more economically feasible for nations who have minimal or zero internal quibbles about said violations.

In an environment of globalization and international rights standards for ordinary workers, some may wish to get around the problems of the ordinary worker or concern for their rights simply and solely through a violation of their inherent capacities for better economic viability and, thus, equality. Women are often the first to be impacted by this. In this, “with regard to women’s occupational health and safety,” they are left out.

According to the Beijing Declaration, this includes “low skill levels, and a lack of job security and social security, in both the formal and informal sectors.” I should note that these generalized templates and statements coming from the Beijing Declaration and the ways in which the organizational principles follow one from the other, and the points of presented argument make a sort of intuitive sense do not come from nowhere.

We have covered a lot of material here. However, we should keep an eye on some of the interesting aspects of the Beijing Declaration, as a commentary on it. A decent source, Wikipedia, states, “The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is widely known as the most progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights.” United Nations Women stated:

An unprecedented 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists streamed into Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. They were remarkably diverse, coming from around the globe, but they had a single purpose in mind: gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.

Two weeks of political debate followed, heated at times, as representatives of 189 governments hammered out commitments that were historic in scope. Thirty thousand non-governmental activists attended a parallel Forum and kept the pressure on, networking, lobbying and training a global media spotlight. By the time the conference closed, it had produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights.

As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern. Even 20 years later, it remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration.

These are some of the reasons for spending an inordinate amount of time on these activities, principles, and arguments for the equality of women. If there is a powerful document for the rights of women, then this is the one, certainly. Many count on a number of different levels or in particularized areas of concern, but these ones, specifically, mentioned throughout the Beijing Declaration are truly core.

In a focus of the more economically advanced countries, take the Scandinavian or Nordic countries, they tend to have more rights for workers, better labour standards, more respect for labour rights, include more gender equality in the home and in the working world (“formal and informal sectors”) bringing about a greater capacity for women to flourish and, in turn, and not surprisingly when taking full account and advantage of the other half of the population, leading to more flourishing societies. A sign of a healthy society can be seen in the work of the rights advancement of women.

If women’s rights are advanced, or, as per the general agenda of the Beijing Declaration, if women are more empowered in a society, then the society, typically, will look healthier on almost all metrics, whether healthcare, educational access and opportunities, work opportunities, gender equality, division of home and formal labour between men and women, and the like. Iceland and the Nordic countries, in particular, are the ones to watch on these fronts.

In addition to the general category of “women,” another area of problematic rights implementation in the work sphere are “young workers” and “migrant female workers” as was noted in a few recent commentaries, in which rural workers who are women, young, and/or migrants are left in worse conditions on the rights and equality front compared to the others.

Simply as a fact of life for most women in most cultures, the women who are mothers, and have young children in particular, lack opportunities in education and work compared to the men or other women without said young children. The fact of inflexibility on the front of working conditions leaves women in worse conditions than the men because of the more flexible hours or the lack of a need, based on cultural expectations and entrenched gender roles grounded in gender norms, leaves women having to bear this brunt of inflexibility compared to the men in which young children and the mother are left with the inflexible working conditions as more prescient because the mother is the primary caretaker.

If the father was the primary childrearer, then the case would be flipped, in which the need for greater working flexibility would left for the men. However, the reality is the reverse; therefore, the more precarious conditions sit with the women, grounded in “inflexible working conditions and inadequate sharing, by the men and by society, of family responsibilities.

(Updated 2020-07-07, only use the updated listing, please) Not all nations, organizations, societies, or individuals accept the proposals of the United Nations; one can find similar statements in other documents, conventions, declarations and so on, with the subsequent statements of equality or women’s rights, and the important days and campaigns devoted to the rights of women and girls too:


Strategic Aims

Celebratory Days

Guidelines and Campaigns

Women and Men Women’s Rights Campaigners


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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