The Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing in September 1995. The Conference adopted a Declaration and a Platform for Action, which identified 12 ‘critical areas of concern’: poverty, access to education; access to healthcare; violence against women; armed conflict; economic inequality; inequality in power and decision-making; promotion of the advancement of women; women’s human rights; media stereotyping of women; the environment; the girl child.

While the Beijing Conference and its outcome documents were regarded as an ambivalent success by some contemporary observers, 25 years later it seems a very progressive moment in the history of women’s rights. Global politics have changed to the point that it is difficult to imagine that the Declaration or Platform could be negotiated in the same terms today.

To mark the occasion of Beijing +25 and to consider the influence of the conference and outcome documents, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School together with the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW Sydney, are co-hosting a conference to consider the advances, and retreats, in the situation of women internationally over the past 25 years. It will also identify possible avenues for responding to gender inequality and women’s rights now and into the future.

The format of the event will depend on the prevailing COVID-19 restrictions and will definitely include the opportunity for remote presentations.

Limited funding may be available for travel expenses for ECRs who have been selected to present a paper should we be able to meet in person.


The program will be announced later in the year.



Kate Jenkins profile image

Kate Jenkins

Sex Discrimination Commissioner

Kate Jenkins became Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner in 2016. She is leading a number of projects at the Australian Human Rights Commission, including the National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces and the Commission’s collaborative project on cultural reform with the Australian Defence Force.

View profile
Phoebe Wynn Pope profile image

Phoebe Wynn-Pope

Head of Business and Human Rights at Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope has over 25 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector. As Head of Business and Human Rights at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Phoebe works with clients to consider the human rights impacts of their operations and the value to be gained by adopting a human rights framework when assessing risks and opportunities.

View profile
Andrea Durbach profile image

Andrea Durbach

Professor, UNSW Law

Andrea Durbach is Professor of Law at UNSW and was Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre (now Institute) (2004-2017). A Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, in 2013 Andrea was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Law Award for her promotion and advancement of human rights in Australia through the practice of law.

View profile
Andrew Byrnes profile image

Andrew Byrnes

Professor, UNSW Law

Andrew Byrnes joined the UNSW Law Faculty as Professor of International Law in May 2005. In 2018, Andrew received the Law Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards, in recognition for his leadership on a wide range of social issues including gender equality, the death penalty, older persons and disability rights.

View profile
Rosemary Kayess profile image

Rosemary Kayess

United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Rosemary Kayess is a teaching fellow at UNSW Law and senior research fellow at UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre, and is serving a three-year term on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2019, Rosemary won the prestigious Human Rights Medal in recognition of her work in international human rights law for people with disability.

View profile
Laura Shepherd Portrait

Laura Shepherd

Professor, University of Sydney

Laura J. Shepherd is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of International Relations at the University of Sydney, Australia. Laura is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security in London, UK. Her primary research focuses on the United Nations Security Council’s ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda.

View profile
Dianne Otto

Dianne Otto

Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Law School

Dianne Otto is Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School. Her research, in the field of public international law and human rights law, covers a broad field including addressing gender, sexuality and race inequalities in the context of international human rights law, the UN Security Council’s peacekeeping work, the technologies of global ‘crisis governance’, threats to economic, social and cultural rights, and the transformative potential of people’s tribunals and other NGO initiatives.

View profile
Carmen Lawrence

Carmen Lawrence

Emeritus Professor, University of Western Australia

After training as a research psychologist at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and lecturing in a number of Australian universities, Dr Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both State and Federal levels for 21 years. She was at various times W.A Minister for Education and Aboriginal affairs and was the first woman Premier and Treasurer of a State government.

View profile
Anne Marie Goetz

Anne Marie Goetz

Clinical Professor, Center for Global Affairs, NYU

Dr. Goetz has been Clinical Professor at CGA since 2014. She served at the United Nations from 2005-2014 as a Policy Director of Governance, Peace and Security, at UNIFEM and UN Women. While at the UN, Dr. Goetz spearheaded initiatives to build women’s participation in representative politics, to promote women’s empowerment in peace building work, and to support the participation of women leaders and rights organisations in peace talks and post-conflict decision-making.

View profile
Christine Chinkin

Christine Chinkin

Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science

Christine Chinkin, CMG FBA is Emerita Professor of International Law, Professorial Research Fellow and Founding Director of the Centre of Women, Peace & Security at LSE. She is also a barrister and leading expert on international and human rights law, especially the international human rights of women.

View profile


Registrations open later this year. Please check back for further details.



Hilary Charlesworth profile image

Professor Hilary Charlesworth

Professor, Melbourne Law School

Hilary Charlesworth AM is a Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School and a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University.She is a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and an Associate Member of the Institut de Droit International. She served as Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice in the Whaling in the Antarctic case.

Louise Chappell profile image

Scientia Professor Louise Chappell

Director, Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW Sydney

Scientia Professor Louise Chappell is Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute at UNSW Sydney. A Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2010-14), Louise’s research interests are in the areas of women’s rights; gender, politics and institutions and comparative federalism and public policy.


For all inquiries, please email humanrights@unsw.edu.au

Our Partners