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Gender gap persists on road to the SDGs: UN Women

The new Gender Snapshot report from the UN’s gender equality agency at this midway point towards the SDGs warns that if current trends continue, over 340 million women and girls will be living in poverty by 2030.

That represents eight per cent of the female population worldwide.

Close to one in four will experience moderate or severe food insecurity and at the current rate of progress, the next generation of women will still be spending 2.3 more hours per day on unpaid care and domestic work than men.

UN Women’s report also notes that the gender gap in power and leadership positions “remains entrenched”.

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‘Call to action’

Sarah Hendriks, the agency’s acting Deputy Executive Director described it as “a resounding call to action.

“We must collectively and intentionally act now to course-correct for a world where every woman and girl has equal rights, opportunities, and representation. To achieve this, we need unwavering commitment, innovative solutions, and collaboration across all sectors and stakeholders.”

The report provides comprehensive analysis on gender factors across all 17 SDGs, in light of the ambitious goal of achieving true equality.

It includes sex-disaggregated data on the intersections of gender and climate change for the first time. It projects that by mid-century, under a worst-case climate scenario, climate change may push up to 158.3 million more women and girls into poverty.

That’s 16 million more than the figure for men and boys.

Unequal struggle

The report also finds that older women face higher rates of poverty and violence than older men. 

In 28 of the 116 countries with data, fewer than half of older women have a pension. 

Halfway to 2030, progress on SDG 5 – gender equality – is clearly way off track. The report shows that the world is simply failing women and girls with only two Goal 5 indicators “close to target” and no indicator at the “target met or almost met” level.

In money terms, it suggests that an extra $360 billion per year in needed to achieve equality and women’s empowerment across key goals.

‘Foundation of a fair society’

“Gender equality is not just a goal within the 2030 Agenda,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, who heads up Policy Coordination at the UN’s economic and social affairs department, DESA.

“It is the very foundation of a fair society, and a goal upon which all other goals must stand.

“By breaking down the barriers that have hindered the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of society, we unleash the untapped potential that can drive progress and prosperity for all.”

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