Commemorating consecutive UN Decades for Women, government representatives from all over the world convened in Beijing, China in 1995 to participate in the Fourth World Conference on Women. Countries drafted and adopted the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), which was to serve as ‘’an agenda for women’s empowerment’’ and facilitate more equal power relations and opportunities between men and women. A total of 189 countries, and many international organizations, agreed to the terms of the BPFA and vowed to make the advancement of women a national and regional priority. Twelve Critical Areas of Concern (CAC) were identified in the BPFA (see Box 1) – all of which have an intergenerational impact on girls and adolescents, CAC L was dedicated to girls and adolescents (See Box 2). As the CAC did not always systematically address intergenerational aspects of gender inequality, many of these national plans do not adequately reflect specific strategies for girls, boys and adolescents.
Every 5 years since the original meeting in Beijing, an appraisal has been conducted to assess the progress made on these strategic objectives. The quinquennial review is typically prepared prior to and discussed during the Commission on the Status of Women by UN Women. For the 25-year review and coordinated by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), consultations and regional positions will take place during the XIV Regional Conference on Women (RCW) – co-hosted by ECLAC and UN Women. 2020 represents the 25th anniversary of the BFPA, herein referred to as Beijing +25, offering a moment to map progress, identify persistent and emerging challenges towards renewing commitments for contemporary times.
Box 1: BPFA Critical Areas of Concern
- Women and poverty
- Women and education
- Women and health
- Violence against women
- Women in armed conflict
- Women and the economy
- Power and decision-making of women
- Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
- Women and human rights
- Women and the media
- Women and the environment
- The Girl-Child
Box 2: BPFA Strategic Objectives (SO) for Girls and Adolescents
SO L1: Eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls.
SO L2: Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls.
SO L3: Promote and protect the rights of girls and adolescent girls increase awareness of their needs and potential.
SO L4: Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training.
SO L5: Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition.
SO L6: Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work.
SO L7: Eradicate violence against girls and adolescent girls.
SO L8: Promote girls’ and adolescent girls’ awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life.
SO L9: Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of girls and adolescents.
UNICEF, Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls
As part of the United Nations System (UNS), UNICEF has established high-level commitment to gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment as evidenced through its 2010 Gender Equality Policy, and the subsequent cycles of the UNICEF Gender Action Plan (GAP) (2014-2017; 2018-2021).
Within the UNICEF GAP, recognition is made of the increased burdens and obstacles generated by gender inequalities for women and girls and the need to systematically address adolescent girls’ empowerment through five targeted priorities. The bottlenecks and barriers, as well as GAP programmatic and institutional are aligned with the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the structural causes of gender inequality highlighted within the Regional Gender Agenda. However, a holistic approach to girls’ equality and empowerment, including intergenerational impacts and opportunities, is required to accelerate results. The purpose of this consultancy is to promote such an approach, based on statistical and document review, and consultations with girls, adolescents, women and other key stakeholders.
The Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has begun a review of BPFA CAC L to map out shared areas of intervention between UNICEF and partners on gender equality and girls’ rights, contribute to regional Beijing +25 reviews and generate intergenerational recommendations towards a renewed agenda for girls in LAC.
The review includes quantitative and qualitative analysis of statistical data, existing 5-year regional reviews of the BPFA, country advances and inputs (among other information sources such as the Antigua and Chile Declarations) for use in agenda-setting processes around gender equality and girls’ rights in LAC. On an internal level, the review will serve to localize the UNICEF GAP in LAC.
Included below are the proposed components of the review enabling vast consultations to ensure the maximum number of girls’ voices in the process:
- Step 1: Review of inputs provided by Gender Section of LACRO:
- Draft Statistical Review of CAC L strategic objectives (ongoing by UNICEF LACRO)
- Regional Synthesis of National Beijing +25 Reports with respect to CAC L Strategic Objectives (Mapping complete; synthesis on-going)
- Regional and Global key inputs: UNICEF Global Report around Girls Rights and Regional infographic, UNICEF Regional statistical brochure Panorama of the Americas, ECLAC Regional Report around Beijing 25, among others.
- Step 2: Identify data gaps and define recommendation on data gaps for girls and adolescents and how to include in the final report.
- Step 3. Develop and analyze consultation questions for adolescent girls and boys that will be implemented in the virtual consultation (U-Report, on-line consultations, etc.) to address data gaps found in Steps 1 and 2.
- Step 3a. Conduct individual interviews with key stakeholders (gender specialist, feminist leaders and adolescent and girls, among others), defined with UNICEF LACRO.
- Step 3.b. Conduct virtual consultations or other communication method that allows the collection of information through associations, organizations, networks of women and / or youth making focus groups. A minimum of 50 girls and adolescents are expected to participate.
- Step 4: Intergenerational dialogues in countries around CAC L (In progress)
- Step 5: REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON WOMEN : Santiago Commitment that was agreed by LAC governments, Feminist Young Declaration agreed by girls and adolescents in the Regional Consultation Forum Generation Equality and Regional Intergenerational Dialogue on CAC L
- Step 6: Consolidation of quantitative, qualitative, national, regional intergenerational dialogue reports and other key regional inputs into a proposed ‘new’ Critical Area of Concern for Girls
- Step 7: Peer Review
- Step 8: Preparation of inputs for October 2020 Event during the International Day of The Girl
Under the supervision of the Regional Gender Advisor, the consultant will be responsible to undertake Steps 1, 2, 3,3a, 6, 7 and 8; 4 and 5 was conducted with UNICEF collaboration. The Chronogram of deliverables will be agreed with selected candidate from the following proposal:
The consultant will work directly under the supervision of the Regional Gender Adviser, LACRO. The consultant will also work directly with the LACRO gender team and members of the LAC Gender Network. If needed, the consultant will liaise with the UNICEF Global Network.
Qualifications, specialized knowledge, experience required
- Master’s degree required in any of the following: Gender, Social Sciences, Public Administration, International Relations, Public Health, Education, or other related areas.
- Minimum ten (10) years of significant experience conducting research at national and international level.
- Experience in coordinating multi-partner, multi-country initiatives required.
- Experience in Gender Equality issues is required, ideally within the public sector.
- Demonstrated experience in designing and conducting complex, multi-stakeholder and multi-country studies, working with a team of researchers;
- Strong quantitative, qualitative and analytical research skills;
- Experience within the UN System or other international development organizations an asset.
- Experience in national and regional consultations, especially with adolescents and women’s organizations would be an asset.
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience with Regional gender machineries, mandates and mechanisms would be an asset.
Proficiency in Spanish and English is required. French and/or Portuguese proficiency considered an asset.
The consultant will work from his/her home and, it is possible, in the UNICEF LACRO office.
Honoraria a and Fees
Applicants are requested to submit an economic proposal based on the deliverables above. All fees will be paid upon full satisfactory delivery of services included in the contract. Travel expenses for missions, if required, will be covered by UNICEF.
Contract Duration: Five (5) months. Estimate start date: 15 April 2020
 Note that the BPFA refers to “the girl child” which is replaced in contemporary discourse by “girls and adolescents”.
 Note that I have taken liberties to slightly change the wording – not only from Girl Child, but also in reference to “her” as if all girls and adolescents are not diverse. As we progress in the preparation of consultation documents, we can either decide to leave the original language in order to generate discussion on it, or already propose new language. I propose the latter; to be discussed.
 The GAP targeted priorities include: Gender-responsive adolescent health; Girls’ Secondary Education; Child Marriage and Early Unions; Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies and Menstrual Hygiene Management.
 The LAC Regional Gender Agenda, established through the Regional Conference on Women presided by Women’s Ministries under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), has been consolidated over the past 40 years and includes themes such as poverty alleviation for women and female-headed households; the care economy; health (maternal and child health as well as sexual and reproductive health); education; violence; economic autonomy, and political participation. The Regional Gender Agenda is monitored on an annual basis, with regional debate and revision every three years.
 Such as, for example, the UNICEF Brazil work around the “Beijing + 20 generation”. Other examples to come from GAP Annual and/or Regional Reports.
 The Antigua Declaration refers to a 2018 Feminist, Intergenerational Call to Action on Girls Rights; The Santiago Declaration refers to the 2018 Declaration of Adolescents emerging from the 2018 Regional Dialogue on the CRC.
 Review components not chronological; rather many should be developed in parallel to meet key calendar dates.
 Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru had organized intergenerational dialogues. Panama and Nicaragua will do in coming weeks.
9] Note that the RCW was postponed from Nov 2019 to January 2020.