Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality

“THE ROOT CAUSE OF GENDER INEQUALITY IS THE ROLE SOCIETY ASSIGNS TO WOMEN.”

With Gender Equality being the 5th goal of the UN SDGs, it aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and aims to achieve gender equality by empowering them. 

Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and UN values and, in 1945, the world leaders adopted the fundamental principle of “equal rights of men and women’’ in the United Nations Charter, and protecting and promoting women’s human rights is the responsibility of all States. 

 Gender inequality exists in almost every sphere of life. It takes up a big part of some of the most persistent and widespread forms of injustice. Throughout history, women have come to face intense forms of discrimination- from a lack of legal rights and very little independence in their households, to being made to think that they have inferior brains. In many societies, women have long been viewed as less than fully human.

The society has been structured in a manner that has always perceived women to be submissive, docile and weak. From the very beginning, a girl is told to be emotional, accommodating and compromising and a boy is asked to be self confident and aggressive. This, in turn, has led to the issue of gender stereotyping and has created wider differences in the society. Even though the causes are many, some of the prominent causes for gender discrimination remain to be uneven access to education, lack of employability levels, lack of legal protection and lack of political representation. Increased discrimination against women has resulted in them being subjected to sexual violence, human trafficking, arbitrary killing and torture. 

However, in the contemporary world, people all over the globe have come to realise the importance of gender equality with rising social movements led by MEN and WOMEN, who call themselves to be ‘Feminists’. The issue has garnered enough attention that it now falls into the list of SDGs that the UN aims to achieve by 2030. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful and sustainable world. The exclusion of women places half of the world’s population outside the realm of opportunity to partner in building prosperous societies and economies. Equal access to education, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision making processes are not only rights women should have but they benefit humanity in whole. By investing in the empowerment of women, despite their color, caste, race, religion, we not only make progress on Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, we also make gains on the alleviation of poverty and fuel sustainable economic growth.

The UN aims to target a few issues like- 

  • Ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminating all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Recognizing and valuing 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.
  • Ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
  • Undertaking 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.
  • The UN also aims to focus on women with disabilities who are at a greater risk to experience discrimination from their male counterparts and provide them with equal opportunities to grow financially and give them equal political representation.

The picture below also depicts how vulnerable women became when the world was hit by a global pandemic and the struggles they had to undergo.

Despite making suitable suggestions to end gender discrimination, the UN fails to address the LGBTQIA+ community and their needs and demands to be uplifted and be given the same amount of attention and respect that women deserve, albeit, gender equality is important to promote the end goal that the SDGs are trying to achieve. It is an inherent requirement for a world that is fundamentally patriarchal. It gives a base to women, so as to be on an equal footing with their male counterparts. There is an inbuilt stigma attached which labels women to be the weaker sex, despite the fact that they’re the reason why human progeny exists in the first place. Battling all such taboos attached with their birth and survival, women still touch the skies by breaking the glass ceiling. The society , as one collective unit, cannot prosper until its women get what they deserve: equality