SDG 5 Courses: Gender Equality

Around the world, more than 750 million girls and women were married before they turned 18 years, while at least 200 million were victims of female genital mutilation in 30 countries. In 18 countries, husbands are given legal rights to prevent their views from working, while 49 countries failed to adopt laws that protect women from domestic violence. This resulted in 19 per cent of women and girls of age 15 to 49, to experience physical and sexual violence by their partners. Furthermore, the representation of women in national parliaments is still far from ideal with just 23.7 per cent holding positions. Last, but certainly not least, women count for just 13 per cent of agricultural land holders globally.

Even though women and girls represent half of the world’s population, there are still gender inequalities persisting across the world. Thus, the goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. This is particularly important since women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and in many countries women and girls still perform unpaid domestic work. These types of inequalities begin at birth and usually persist throughout a lifetime. Gender inequality also affects women and girls in education which, usually, translates to lack of skills and access to labor markets.

While there has been some progress in empowerment of women and gender equality under the Millennium Development Goals, such as equal access to primary education, women and girls still face discrimination and violence in every corner of the world. Unfortunately, many women and girls are still prevented from enjoying gender equality as a fundamental human right. Therefore, providing women and girls with equal access to education, decent employment, healthcare, and representation in economic and political sphere will help boost sustainable economics and benefit societies globally. Investing in education programs for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $ 5 for every dollar spent, while investing in programs that aim to improve income-generating activities for women can return $ 7 for every dollar spent.   Advancing gender equality is critical to achieving a healthy society and reducing poverty. Countries, therefore, are expected to implement legal frameworks to achieve gender equality at workplace and to eradicate harmful practices that target women.

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