The sheer number of women who will be in Beijing for the U.N. women's conference attests to the growth of the women's movement since the first conference 20 years ago.
There were 2,000 official delegates and 6,000 members of activist groups at the first U.N. women's conference in Mexico City in 1975.Five years later, at the second conference in Copenhagen, there were 3,000 delegates and 8,000 activists. The last U.N. women's conference, in Nairobi in 1990, was attended by 3,000 delegates and 11,000 activists.
The Beijing conference, running Sept. 4-15, is expected to attract more than 40,000 women.
Some 6,000 delegates from at least 150 countries will attend the Fourth World Conference on Women to adopt a plan to improve the lives of women. In addition, some 36,000 women will attend the NGO Forum, a meeting Aug. 30-Sept. 8 of activist groups trying to influence the official government decisionmakers.
Vietnam, which sent five people to Nairobi, is sending 145 to Beijing.
"Because of Mexico, Copenhagen and Nairobi, we made the women's movement grow very fast. Without the conferences, it wouldn't be this fast," said Supatra Masdit, a Thai lawmaker who will lead the meeting of private groups.