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UN Women’s Seminal Report on Gender Equality and the SDGs Reveals Troubling Reality

“Mind blowing and heart breaking,” stated main educational and activist, Gita Sen, capturing the essence of UN Women’s long-awaited flagship report on gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This groundbreaking report, launched yesterday, supplies us with a complete snapshot of the place women and women stand globally as implementation of the SDGs will get underway, lays naked how discrimination drives deprivation, and presents a daring imaginative and prescient for future motion.

The report, Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, exposes the main gaps in present knowledge about what works for women and women, notably those that are most marginalized. While the SDG indicator framework consists of indicators with a selected focus on women and women throughout the SDGs, we’ve lower than a 3rd of the knowledge wanted to even create a baseline of the place women and women stand, not to mention measure change. As Ginette Azcona, one among the authors of this report, lately informed me, if we’re going to obtain these objectives, “we need a revolution in gender statistics and democratic accountability.”

That stated, one among the most enjoyable features of this report is the way it unpacks the knowledge at present obtainable to point out a vivid image about the realities of women and women lives and how gender-based discrimination threatens to undermine progress in the direction of the SDGs in each nation.

For instance, till this report, there was no dependable international estimate of what number of women versus males have been dwelling in excessive poverty, or on lower than $1.90 day. We now know that four.four million extra women than males stay in excessive poverty globally; women age 25-34 are extra weak to poverty due to the struggles of mixing baby care and different unpaid work with incomes an revenue. In all nations, single moms usually tend to reside in poverty than others. The hole is most stark in the United States, the place 44 % of all single-mother households have an revenue that’s lower than 50 % of the median. Brazil, South Africa, Luxembourg, and Italy are usually not far behind, displaying that not solely is that this a worldwide drawback, however that a nation’s revenue degree does little to deal with gender-based inequality and deprivation.

UN Women’s report additionally exhibits how women’s autonomy and their potential to make and act upon selections about the most elementary points of their lives—like whether or not or to not marry, use contraception, or entry sexual and reproductive health care—impacts their general health and well-being. According to knowledge from 45 nations, solely 52 % of women who’re married or in a union report that they will freely make their very own selections about whether or not or to not have intercourse, use contraception or entry health providers. Every yr, 15 million women beneath the age of 18 are nonetheless pressured into marriage. One in 5 women and women age 15-49 globally report that inside the final 12 months, they skilled bodily or sexual violence at the palms of an intimate companion. This dramatic actuality exhibits that till women and women could make elementary decisions about their lives, free from violence, then gender equality can be elusive.

Perhaps the most necessary contribution of this report is its clear demonstration of how discrimination and inequalities, inside and between nations, work together to rob particular teams of women and women of alternatives, company, and their capacity to succeed in their goals. Access to schooling, health and respectable work, and the capacity to make decisions are starkly restricted for marginalized women and women, who find yourself paying a excessive worth for this inequality. A woman dwelling in rural India from a poor family is greater than four occasions extra doubtless than her wealthy, city counterpart to be married earlier than the age of 18, the report exhibits. The similar woman is nearly 40 occasions extra more likely to have by no means attended faculty; greater than 5 occasions extra more likely to grow to be an adolescent mom; and considerably extra more likely to haven’t any entry to cash for her personal use or say in how family cash is spent.

The mixture of racial and gender inequality, for instance, or migration standing and gender inequality, typically results in acute types of deprivation that impression virtually each facet of women’s and women’ lives. The detailed case research from Pakistan, Nigeria, Colombia and the United States, drive house this level by displaying how on virtually each measure of well-being particular teams of marginalized women and women are being left behind. The report makes clear that whereas governments should make public providers and social safety common, they need to additionally differentiate methods to make sure that systematically marginalized teams of women and women can truly use and profit from them.

There is a lot extra to this report, however listed here are 4 takeaways from my preliminary studying.

1. Put women and women at the middle.

Women and women have to be at the middle of implementation of the SDGs and particular methods have to be put in place to make sure that the poorest and most marginalized teams of women and women can profit from SDG implementation. When we have been designing the SDGs we have been clear that gender equality couldn’t be siloed in only one aim, however that it needed to be built-in all through the agenda. As we collect extra knowledge about who’s being left behind, it’s much more clear that gender equality and women’s human rights and the intersectional strategy woven into the SDGs are crucial for attaining each one in every of the 17 objectives.

2. Prioritize gender knowledge.

Governments, researchers, NGOs, and others should enhance gender knowledge assortment and evaluation on an ongoing foundation. Data is important for driving coverage selections and informing methods to allocate assets, however at the second governments are primarily flying gender blind. And we have to broaden our acceptance of what counts as knowledge. Data from nationwide statistical workplaces are key, however so are the knowledge that women and women’s organizations and educational establishments produce.

three. Governments should again commitments to gender equality with political will and assets.

The report makes clear that if we’re critical about making progress, we’d like governments which might be going to make women and women a political precedence and allocate the needed assets. As UN Women factors out, lack of cash and assets shouldn’t be a problem: we reside in a second of unprecedented wealth but in addition gross inequalities, the place those that most want assets are the least possible to have the ability to entry them. The undeniable fact that the richest 1 % of the world’s inhabitants managed 82 % of the wealth generated in 2017, whereas the backside 50 % noticed no increase in wealth illustrates this level vividly. But as an alternative of elevating revenues by growing taxes on the rich and decreasing illicit funding flows, governments all over the place are chopping their budgets, dismantling social security nets and decreasing public providers on which so many women and women rely. This has to vary.

four. Invest in women’s actions to extend accountability.

As IWHC’s personal expertise has shown, robust, autonomous women’s actions are important to make sure that governments stay as much as their commitments to finish discrimination and obtain gender equality over the long run. As UN Women factors out, “[s]upporting their efforts to monitor progress and hold governments accountable for the implementation of the gender-responsive laws and policies is critical to turn the promises of the 2030 Agenda into action.”

Photo: Adil Hussain

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