In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for Equality, Development and Peace (BPfA). The BPfA is an agenda for women’s empowerment. It reaffirms the fundamental principle whereby the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. As an agenda for action, the BPfA seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women throughout their lives.
The BPfA addresses twelve critical areas of concern requiring particular action towards the advancement of women:
E3. Funding (as a total amount and as a percentage of cooperation programmes) allocated by the Member States and the European Commission, in countries affected by armed conflict or in post-conflict situations, to support gender equality, broken down, where possible, to reflect funding to support:
F1. Employed men and women on parental leave (paid and unpaid) within the meaning of Directive 96/34/EC on the framework agreement between the social partners on parental leave, as a proportion of all employed parents
F4. Comprehensive and integrated policies, particularly employment policies, aimed at promoting a balance between work and family life for both men and women (including, for example, a description of available child care facilities, parental leave and flexible working time arrangements, of services offered by companies for their employees, and of flexible opening hours of public services such as local authority offices, post offices, crèches, and shops)
L3. Educational accomplishments: comparison of 15-year-old students’ performance in mathematics and science and the proportion of girl students in tertiary education in the field of science, mathematics and computing and in the field of teacher training and education science
The European Union regards equality between women and men as a fundamental principle. In December 1995, the European Council acknowledged the commitment of the European Union to the BPfA and expressed its intent to review its implementation across the Member States on a yearly basis.
Since 1999 a number of quantitative and qualitative indicators have been developed by the Presidencies of the EU Council to monitor progress towards the achievement of the goals of the BPfA. By 2012 the Council adopted indicators in ten out of twelve critical areas defined by the BPfA. Currently, indicators for the following two areas are yet to be developed: Human Rights of Women; Women and the Media.