Gender equality and gender backlash
Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
The term gender was originally conceptualised to explain and challenge the systematic oppression of women. After the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, gender was considered one of the key concepts in international human rights.
Now transnational movements opposing the so-called “gender ideology” have gained ground, including among conservative religious, civil society and State actors. We have observed backlash against women’s rights and the very concept of gender and gender equality in recent years. This backlash puts many of the hard-fought gains that women have achieved in jeopardy, particularly in the area of sexuality and reproduction, gender equality education, and even gender-based violence.
In this 2020 position paper, and in the context of the increasing misuse of the concept of gender, attacks on gender equality and women’s rights, we consider it important to clarify the use of the concept in relation to our mandate. This paper also addresses current challenges to women’s rights, in particular the attacks by fundamentalist movements fighting the so-called “gender ideology”.