Sustainable Development Goals and Women

On 1st of January 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations put into effect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with over 160 accompanying targets, providing both an action plan and a global commitment to improve our lives and protect our planet. All UN member states agreed to strive to achieve these SGDs which cover a holistic set of issues across three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Building on the principle of “leaving no one behind” the 17 SDGs address global key challenges such as combatting climate change and achieving gender equality and envisage the eradication of poverty and the building of peaceful, resilient and inclusive societies all over the world over the 2016 – 2030 period.

One of these goals, SDG-5, aims to achieve gender equality and empower all girls and women. This means, women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination.

In its Resolution on this 2030 Agenda, the General Assembly stated that realizing this stand-alone goal SDG-5 „will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the goals and targets“. As early as 2014, the UN World Survey on the Role of Women in Development had already claimed vital synergies between women's empowerment and economic, social and environmental sustainability. In other words: Achieving SDG 5, gender equality and women’s empowerment, will be an enabler and accelerator for all other SDGs and key to achieving them. Or, to quote Karin Nordmeyer, president of UN Women Germany: "Gender equality is an overarching goal for all of the 17 SDGs." Why is that?

Let’s have a closer look at the 17 SDGs and their interlinkage to women’s empowerment and gender equality.