Spotlight Series: SDG 5 – Gender Equality

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Women’s empowerment has been identified as one of the conditions to address certain SDGs such as eradicating poverty. The UN has therefore decided to have a goal entirely dedicated to promoting gender equality and women empowerment. With 52 countries having no guaranteed policies of gender equality in politics and the society, there needs to be great legal and legislative changes to ensure changes in social and legal norms that enforce discrimination against women.

On average women make 24% less than men globally with 31% less in France and Sweden, 46% in Germany and 75% less in Turkey[1].

“As of August 2015, only 22 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female, a slow rise from 11.3 per cent in 1995” [2]

On average one women out of free experiences physical and/or abuse in their lifetime, most of the time by an intimate partner.

133 million girls and women have experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). A practice done in various Middle East and African Countries.  FGM has been known to cause physical and emotional trauma as well as complicating reproductive and sexual health and sometimes resulting in death or sepsis.

UN women had remarked the absence of any MDG (Millennium Development Goals) addressing violence against women.

The 5th SDG aims to: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences. Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws. Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women. Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

Two of the main goals are about increasing women’s political participation and their economic empowerment[3]. This includes assisting more women to get on ballots, attain political office and go to polls to vote. It also aims assisting women to secure decent jobs, accumulate assets, and influence institutions and public policies, while underlining the need to recognize, reduce and redistribute the burden on women for unpaid care. We promote women’s role and leadership in humanitarian action, including in conflict-prevention and efforts to ensure peace and security.

Furthermore, the UN advocate for ending violence, raise awareness of its causes and consequences and boost efforts to prevent and respond, including ensuring the rights of women living with HIV. Moreover, the SDG aims at working to ensure that governments reflect the needs of women and girls in their planning and budgeting, and engage men and boys, urging them to become champions of gender equality, including through our HeForShe initiative.


This is part 6/18 of a series on the Sustainable Development Goals.



[1]Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming economies, realizing rights, Chapter 2.

[2] SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

[3] Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming economies, realizing rights, Chapter 2.

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