Imagining the Day the Beijing Declaration Becomes Irrelevant

This post was written by Nive Sharat Chandran and originally appeared onUN Women

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence among OECD countries.

On average women earn 13 percent less than their male counterparts for doing the same job. Women still get judged by the way they dress and how they conduct themselves. Rape culture is still prevalent in New Zealand. As recently as 2013, young men were gang-raping intoxicated underage girls. And young girls are still forced into marriage in New Zealand.

While New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote back in 1893, we only have 39 women MPs currently in Parliament. Women make-up only one-third of the New Zealand Parliament!

In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000 will expire and it will also be 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

In 1995, when the Platform for Action was adopted, I was 4-years-old and living in Chennai, India. In the past 20 years, I have migrated to and grown up in Aotearoa, New Zealand. As a young ethnic woman growing up in a developed country, I have realized the importance of the Beijing Declaration.

I do not want domestic violence to be our national shame.

I do not want a friend getting gang raped.

I do not want to get paid 13 percent less than a male colleague for doing the exact same job.

I want my Parliament to be representative of the population of New Zealand.

I certainly do not want any young woman like myself to be forced into marriage.

The day when women, young women and girls are living in a world free from violence; are given the same economic opportunities as their male counterparts; are given equal say in the decision-making bodies of nations; and are able to live in a world where their sexual reproductive health and rights are not discriminated against, is the day the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action becomes irrelevant.

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Nive Sharat Chandran is a 23-year-old From New Zealand who has served as the Vice-President and on the Board of Directors of the YWCA in Auckland.

Photo courtesy of Nive Sharat Chandran


Jim Ven
Jim Ven9 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 3 years ago

We women outnumber men - TIME TO TAKE OVER AND RULE THE WORLD. Teach them how it feels. Sex only by written request & permission. Reduce their salaries to 60% of women's. Make them work twice as hard for less pay. Make their job qualifications twice as high as those required for women, make them totally responsible for child care, etc.


Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you.

Rose Becke3 years ago

A great post

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thank you for sharing

John chapman
John chapman3 years ago

This problem seems to be pretty much endemic.

One thing that galls me, is that we had professions that were considered gender specific.

That began to change, but that coin has two sides.

Men started increasingly going into nursing.

They also are moving disportionately into the supervisory jobs.

You do the math.

Jennifer M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Wow! This is incredible.

Barbara L.
Past Member 3 years ago

Sounds as if there is serious need for education to ensure that boys and girls learn early on that there must be equality, respect ...

If NZ has such a serious problem it is up to the parents and teachers and judicial system to make the necessary changes --