There was Beijing in 1996. Now there is Paris. Twenty-six years after the Beijing Conference, States and international organizations, civil society and the private sector are coming together at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, from 30 June to 2 July, to get behind real commitments to advance the rights of women and girls all around the world.

As France is co-chair of the Forum alongside Mexico and under the auspices of UN Women, French President Emmanuel Macron is committed to making the “grand cause of his five-year term” a grand cause for the world. Furthermore, France has a special role to play on the international stage, as the fight for women’s rights is based on a universal conception of human rights, and one that is cherished by our country.

The Generation Equality Forum is happening at a time when the position of women has largely deteriorated due to the impact of the pandemic. While it is women who have kept countries going during the crisis, working in jobs where they were the most exposed to the virus as they took care of others, treating and educating them, they were also the first victims. The pandemic exacerbated the inequalities which women are the most subjected to, in terms of job security, and access to education and healthcare.

In addition, on top of the crisis, we are seeing the rise of a new conservatism, and its fundamental attacks on women’s rights and the gains made in the fight for equality: women’s right to have control over their own bodies, women's right to have access to higher education, etc.

That is why President Macron plans to support a progressive, feminist agenda, in France and abroad. Since the beginning of his five-year term, progress has been made, but to tackle the lasting inequalities and the undermining of certain rights gained, the Generation Equality Forum must boost collective action.