Achieving gender parity is a necessary precondition for the UN Global Goals. While the steady decline of practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation since the year 2000 signals progress, serious challenges remain with regard to women’s political representation, marriage and reproductive rights, sexual and reproductive health, domestic violence, and the relative value of their work.
Empowering women requires addressing disenfranchisement at its root causes. This can be done by working to change social norms, legal frameworks, and discriminating policies that define patriarchal societies. The UN’s targets for ending all discrimination against women and girls include, but are not limited to:
- Ending violence against women, as well as the exploitation, and trafficking of all women and girls.
- Recognizing unpaid work and addressing the burdens of inequitable domestic responsibility.
- Ensuring access to healthcare, including reproductive and sexual health.
- Strengthening policies that provide women with access to economic resources such as property, income, and financial services.
In this collection, we see examples of ways that city planners and researching are taking the needs of women into consideration, from India to Sweden. Where resources or support might be scarce, we learn how NGOs can assist. In Morocco, for example, Project Soar has ensured that hundreds of young women finish school. The project not only provides supplemental educational programs, but also teaches the girls self-advocacy. Explore the rest of the stories in this collection to learn about the solutions working to eliminate barriers and level the playing field for women and girls.
Click here for more stories in the Solutions Story Tracker on gender equality.
- Define the terms “gender” and “sex.” How does gender differ from sex? How is gender socially constructed?
- Choose one (or more) of the following Global Goals and discuss how they are related to the goal of achieving gender equality: Goal 1 (end poverty); Goal 3 (good health and well-being); Goal 4 (quality education); Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth); Goal 10 (reduced inequalities); Goal 13 (climate action).
- What is gender mainstreaming? Evaluate, for instance, the role that the global #MeToo movement has played in the movement to end violence, especially sexual violence, against women.
- Consider and explain why gender equality is a concern for men. What challenges does achieving gender equality pose for men as well as women?
- Choose an Issue Area or a Success Factor related to the goal of achieving gender equality. Then, create a collection and select at least 4 (or more) stories from the Solution’s Story Tracker that relate to your topic. If working with groups, each group can present on the issues and solutions they found most compelling.
- The 2030 Agenda holds “leaving no one behind” as one of its central principles. What more can be done to include LGBTQ+ rights in this agenda? What is left out of the SDG targets? Consider the role of transgender rights, as well as issues of bullying and stigma.
- Gender exists on a spectrum. It is related to a society’s social and cultural norms. Gender refers to a socially constructed idea, related to what a society perceives to be masculine and feminine qualities. Meanwhile, sex refers to an individual’s biological characteristics. Have students discuss the ways in which notions of gender and sex interact and manifest, how these ideas have changed over time, and how they differ both within and between societies.
- According to Ban Ki-Moon, former Secretary-General of the UN, “Countries with higher levels of gender equality have higher economic growth.” Furthermore, according to the UN in a 2018 report, “Investing in education programmes for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $5 for every dollar spent. Investing in programs improving income-generating activities for women can return $7 dollars for every dollar spent.”
- The purpose of gender mainstreaming is to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in population and development activities. This requires addressing both the condition, as well as the position, of women and men in society. For more resources on the #MeToo movement, visit our topic page: here.
- According to the UN Population Fund: “The achievement of gender equality implies changes for both men and women. More equitable relationships will need to be based on a redefinition of the rights and responsibilities of women and men in all spheres of life, including the family, the workplace and the society at large. It is therefore crucial not to overlook gender as an aspect of men’s social identity. This fact is, indeed, often overlooked, because the tendency is to consider male characteristics and attributes as the norm, and those of women as a variation of the norm.”
- Answers will vary by student – see more on Success Factors here. More on creating collections here.
- For more on this issue, access the resources provided by Stonewall International: here