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If every cause has an effect, every problem has a solution. Under this premise, the United Nations formulated 17 ambitious goals in its 2030 Agenda with the aim of putting an end to the major problems affecting our society. These challenges, called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were developed during more than two years of public consultations with civil society groups and UN member states. Today we take an in-depth look at Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Join us.
As the United Nations makes clear in its manifesto, “gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world”. This statement captures the essence of SDG 5. In recent decades, great strides have been made towards equality in both developed and developing societies. In addition to rising school attendance rates for girls or the increasingly rare practice of early marriage in developing countries, there has been a significant increase in the representation of women in institutional, parliamentary and leadership positions.
Nevertheless, this is not nearly enough, as the reports cited by the United Nations itself show. The fact of the matter is that we continue to live in a world where women are still under-represented at all levels of political leadership (only 23.7% of parliamentary positions are held by women), and where 1 in 5 women aged 15-49 say they have suffered sexual or physical violence at the hands of a partner over a period of 12 months.
That is why SDG 5 seeks to tackle these problems once and for all, a tasks for which it relies on the firm commitment of all the countries and social agents signed up to the 2030 Agenda.
As part of the strategy for totally eliminating these barriers and stigmas towards women, the UN has drawn up a roadmap based on a number of targets that, adopted as commitments, seek parity between gender roles in society. Let’s see what these targets are:
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
5.2 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
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.4 Recognise 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
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a 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
5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c 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
Although many of these targets have a general component that may seem far removed from social agents such as companies, their commitment is essential in trying to bring about a cultural change within the corporate sphere and, therefore, in society as a whole. This is why many different companies have redoubled their efforts to promote, among other things, full participation and equal opportunities in their processes and businesses.
An example of this is the launch and implementation of various equality plans, which ultimately aim to increase not only the presence of women in companies, but also their leading role in decision-making processes.
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