September 4, 1995, the world witnessed the penultimate conclusion of a series of international women’s conferences, which culminated in the landmark Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) adopted by 189 nations in Beijing, China. As 17,000 delegates, accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international civil servants from all over these countries debated the outcome document in Beijing, another 30,000, primarily women, and some men, activists, academics, parliamentarians, business interest groups, religious leaders and local government officials met at the parallel NGO Forum in Huairou, near Beijing, to share and exchange ideas on the situation of women and girls in their countries and regions and to propose solutions for the way forward. Many of these participants had educated themselves and lobbied members of their governments, including the delegations inside the negotiating space, on the multiple issues of concern to them in the course of the various preparatory meetings held prior to the conference.
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