Role of Women in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
On the first day of January 2016, a historic UN Summit laid the agenda for sustainable development by way of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also known as the “Global Goals,” they bring back the focus on the centrality of women in every sphere of societal and economic development.
As verified by a University of Wisconsin-Madison study, women constitute half of the world’s population and perform almost two-thirds of its work hours.
Forming such a sizable proportion of the population, women are not just on the frontlines of development goals but are also deeply impacted by environmental, social, and economic issues, at times more than men and boys.
Let’s explore the connection between the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and the role of women.
Are women the key to sustainable development?
This World Economic Forum report says that there is a worrying picture of the progress of sustainable development goals. Going by the research paper published by UN Women, the world is not on track to achieving gender equality by 2030.
Is there a connection between these two trends?
The answer is yes.
Earlier, women and girls were majorly involved in issues that only about them. These mainly include reproductive and maternal health, gender-based violence, child marriage, etc. It proved to be a mistake.
The efforts made towards environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainable development are fraught with a crucial missing link: that of involving women in efforts and decision-making.
The role of women in sustainable development is multidimensional and their voices need to be included at every forefront.
They are often the first responders to their families, have unique ideas and perspectives, and often drive change at various levels.
Women’s role in the global health scenario
According to this UNICEF study, close to 810 women die every day from entirely preventable complications. This is mainly due to the lack of affordable and accessible healthcare systems.
Add to it the fact that women also face high rates of sexual and domestic violence without access to appropriate redressal methods. Decimation against them in terms of pay and professional roles is also rampant.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics 77.6 per cent of women make up the total workforce in health care and social assistance.
Investing in this section of the population by way of providing them with good healthcare systems, non-discriminatory opportunities, and safe spaces will improve their chances of achieving SDG 3 (Good health and well-being).
Women and climate change
Women are more closely related to climate change than is apparent. Constituting almost 43 percent of the global agricultural labour force and are often the early adopters of new technology.
Any investment in uplifting women and improving their capabilities will have a direct impact on food security, water conservation, and renewable energy, which are all key sustainability areas.
Women’s empowerment and education
According to a recent report by The World Bank, almost 129 million girls are out of school, mainly due to poverty. Other reasons include conflict, violence, natural disasters, child marriage, etc.
Investing in education for girls has a tremendous social impact. They not just gain the socio-economic skills necessary to find their way in the world but also are more empowered about their health and nutrition.
Educated girls also make for a stronger and more stable workforce, contributing to economic growth. This will lead to the attainment of SDG 1 (No poverty).
Promoting gender equality in the form of equitable rights, responsibilities, and opportunities is not just a precursor for human rights-led social justice but is imperative for all-around development and not just Women Empowerment. To learn about ways to empower women and achieve the goals of sustainable development in your community, get in touch with the Mahila Housing Trust.
Also Read : Women’s Actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Sow One Seed and Reap a Hundredfold