The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) recently released their flagship report Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which detailed significant gaps in women’s empowerment and recommendations for solutions.
According to The Peace Corps, women’s empowerment “is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality. It includes increasing a woman’s sense of self-worth, her decision-making power, her access to opportunities and resources, her power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and her ability to effect change.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to end poverty by 2030 and promote economic shared prosperity, social development, and environmental protection for all countries.
This agenda includes 17 goals within the areas of people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships. Goal five on the list is to achieve gender equality and empower all females. This includes ending all forms of discrimination and violence, recognizing and valuing unpaid work, providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, providing equal rights to economic resources, allowing access to land ownership or other properties, and adopting legislation that promotes gender equality.
However, UN Women also reports global challenges in fulfilling these goals. For instance, 1 in 5 women and girls under 50 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period. 49 countries lack laws preventing domestic violence, and at least 200M females in 30 countries have experienced genital mutilation.
The topic has trended on social media. The hashtags #PromisesToAction and #GlobalGoals discuss information related to the report. UN Women often posts infographics with key statistics about gender inequality with other influencers also joining in on the conversation.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool (WEPs Tool) partnered with UN Women to help reduce gender inequality within the business sector. Participants come from 296 companies in 61 countries. This business tool can help more women become involved in business and help improve productivity.
“The evidence is clear: gender equality is critical to business performance and sustainable economic growth globally,” said WEPs. “Unleashing the full potential of women and girls could add more than $12 trillion dollars to global GDP, drive significant positive impacts on business productivity and the bottom line, and support families and communities around the world.”
The Peace Corps also concurs with the UN Women’s assessment of global gender inequality. “Gender equality is a human right, but our world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities and decision-making power for women and men.”
Furthermore, US Aid reported that 98M girls around the world are not enrolled in school. With this in mind, countries that provide education for women have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower HIV rates, and improved child nutrition. Empowerment only works if women have complete access to essential resources.
“Progress cannot be delivered in a vacuum. For societies to thrive, women and girls must have access to education, healthcare, and technology,” stated US Aid.
As these organizations have discovered, women play key roles in several sectors: business, technology, health, education, and more. Legislation will help change these trends and make the world a better place. Women still have a long way to go in their pursuit of equality, but with the help of UN Women and other organizations dedicated to women’s empowerment, we can reach equality sooner rather than later.
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