9 March 2020

International Women’s Day 2020: How Libraries Help Deliver on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

2020 marks 25 Libraries Delivering Gender Equality - How Libraries Feature in National Reports on the Beijing Declaration.jpgyears since UN Member States and international society committed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action - an ambitious roadmap towards gender equality. A new IFLA study looks at how far governments have, in their implementation efforts, sought to draw on libraries and address questions where information plays a role.

In the quarter century since the agreement of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, there has been some – if not enough – progress in tackling gender equality around the world. As part of the 25-year review, participating states have submitted national reports detailing the actions they have taken to implement the Declaration and Platform.

Comparing how these reports include and reference libraries is a unique opportunity to get an overview of how governments are drawing on the potential of libraries around the world contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

A Roadmap for Action – Including by Libraries!

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action sets out a comprehensive roadmap towards gender equality in 12 key areas, from women’s poverty to education and training, and from women’s participation in the economy to the wellbeing of the girl child.

As discussed in a 2020 IFLA briefing, there are several objectives and proposed actions in the Platform that libraries can be well-placed to help achieve. Reducing female illiteracy, lifelong education, access to health and legal information to raising awareness and combating negative stereotypes – all are areas where the targets outlined by the Platform align with the work and goals of libraries.

Libraries at the Heart of Delivery

To see how libraries around the world take on such tasks in practice, we have prepared a short study comparing the national reports submitted for the Beijing+25 review. We are delighted to share a draft version of the report with you today, making the the launch of the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and International Women’s Day

The draft report discusses:

  • How different national reports on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action account for libraries and library services;
  • What the key areas of library involvement and interventions to support gender equality are;
  • What roles different libraries choose to take on in women’s empowerment projects.

We wish you a happy International Women’s Day, and look forward to seeing how libraries continue their work to support and empower women as we enter the Decade of Delivery on Sustainable Development Goals.

Visit our publication page to read the draft.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Women’s issues

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