ONE YEAR AGO, some 40,000 women gathered in Beijing in the largest meeting ever convened to discuss the status, roles and prospects for women and girls around the world. The fourth U.N. Conference on Women produced an ambitious Platform for Action. But has it made any real difference in the lives of women?
A number of women's groups are monitoring progress, or lack of it. After only one year the results, not surprisingly, are mixed.
A number of countries have established commissions to follow up on conference recommendations, but not all of them carry any authority or have enough funding. One exception is South Africa, where an office concerned with the status of women is being established within the presidency. Some countries, including Norway, Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands, are setting serious agendas for achieving equality between the sexes. And Norway has significantly increased its allocations for aid to women in developing nations.