Global Goals Week 2021: SDG 5

The Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) centers on “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” or simply “Gender Equality.” Additionally, it advocates for women’s full involvement and equal leadership possibilities at all levels of political and economic decision-making. It consists of nine (9) targets and fourteen (14) indicators. SDG 5 is committed to achieving true and sustained gender equality in all spheres of women and girls’ lives, including (1) eliminating gender disparities, (2) eradicating violence against women and girls, (3) reducing early and forced marriage, (4) ensuring equal participation and leadership opportunities, and (5) universal access to sexual and reproductive rights.

Impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on SDG 5
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may undermine the modest gains in gender equality and the rights of women. This pandemic exacerbates already-existing disparities for women and girls across all spheres of life — from health and economics to security and social protection. Additionally, the outbreak has resulted in a significant rise in violence against women and girls. Many women are locked at home with their abusers as a result of lockdown measures, unable to access resources that have been reduced or restricted. Emerging data indicates that violence against women and girls – especially domestic violence – has increased significantly since the pandemic’s emergence. The SDG Report 2021 showed that almost one in three women (736 million) had experienced physical and/or sexual assault at least once since the age of 15, most often by an intimate partner. Domestic abuse begins at a young age. Nearly 24% of girls and women who have ever been married or had a partner, as well as 26% of those aged 20 to 24, have experienced such abuse.

According to this year’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Report (2021), women spend about 2.5 times as much time as men on unpaid domestic and care labour on an average day, based on data gathered from 90 countries and regions between 2001 and 2019. During the crisis, both men and women increased their unpaid labor, although women performed a disproportionate amount. Additionally, women are leaving employment at a faster rate than males in order to look after children. In a 16-country investigation, childcare time was shown to have risen for both women (from 26 hours per week before the pandemic to 31 hours after) and males (from 20 hours a week to 24 hours). In Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico, evidence indicates that partnered women with children have suffered a greater decline in labour force participation than males, especially women with children under the age of six.

Women continue to face unacceptable levels of violence, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic Additionally, the SDG Report 2021 showed that almost one in three women (736 million) had experienced physical and/or sexual assault at least once since the age of 15, most often by an intimate partner. Domestic abuse begins at a young age. Nearly 24% of girls and women who have ever been married or had a partner, as well as 26% of those aged 20 to 24, have experienced such abuse. There are regional disparities in intimate partner violence, with low- and lower-middle-income areas typically having a greater prevalence than high-income regions. These variations are likely a reflection of the difficulties women frequently face when attempting to leave abusive relationships, including a lack of economic resources, limited availability and access to formal support services, a lack of social support networks, and fear of social stigma-related repercussions. The present pandemic has increased the difficulties faced by women who are victims of abuse.

Municipalities in Bolivia are dedicated to combating violence against children and women.
To date, the Federation of Municipal Associations of Bolivia (FAM Bolivia) has signed agreements with representatives from Oruro, La Paz, Pando, Beni, and Cochabamba municipalities to advocate for an increase in budgets dedicated to preventing violence against girls, boys, adolescents, and women. Currently, the capital municipalities’ budget allocation for instances of violence against women and children is less than 1.5 percent of the institutional budget for 2021, indicating a lack of attention. The agreement proposes the establishment of a Special National Fund in Bolivia’s municipalities to combat violence against girls, boys, women, and other vulnerable groups. The central government would be responsible for the Fund’s establishment, sustainability, and regulations, in collaboration with the country’s independent local governments.

These advancements have been made possible through the agreement signed between FAM Bolivia and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as the joint United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Women program, “Financing to prevent and address violence against children and women in Bolivia,” which has been funded through the Joint SDG Fund since March of this year. The program proposes a strategy for increasing and improving the State’s financing and public management at the municipal, departmental, and national levels for the purpose of addressing and preventing violence against girls, boys, adolescents, and women, as a first step toward achieving the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

The Spotlight Initiative
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have launched the Spotlight Initiative, a new multi-year global initiative aimed at ending all kinds of violence against women and girls (VAWG). The Initiative is so called because it draws attention to this problem, bringing it to the forefront and putting it at the centre of efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment of about EUR 500 million will be made, the majority of which will come from the EU. Additional funders and partners will be asked to participate in the Initiative in order to expand its reach and scope. The delivery mechanism will be a UN multi-stakeholder trust fund, which will be administered by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office with the support of core UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Women, and will be spearheaded by the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General.

Prioritizing gender equality is one of the 2030 Agenda’s cross-cutting issues. Women’s empowerment and gender equality are critical components of all facets of inclusive development. There is widespread agreement that progress toward all of the SDGs is achievable if women’s empowerment and gender equality are comprehensively emphasized. 

Facts about SDG 5: Gender Equality

  • Women currently hold more than 30% of seats in at least one chamber of national parliament in 46 nations. While women have made significant gains into political office globally, their participation in national legislatures is still far from equal at 23.7 percent.
  • According to the United Nations Population Fund (2020), 70% of the global health workforce is female, highlighting the health profession’s gendered nature and the danger of infection faced by female health workers.
  • In Costa Rica, the government has lowered all interest rates for credit to cooperatives and business initiatives that benefit vulnerable segments of the community, including youth, women, older individuals, indigenous, afro-descendant, peasant, migrant, and disabled persons.
  • In the field of employment and economic advantages, more than 90% of nations have prohibited discrimination against women on the basis of gender in the workplace, yet almost half of them continue to exclude women from specific professions or sectors.
  • The evidence base for gender equality in Asia and the Pacific is extremely limited, as only two of the nine targets could be measured, namely 5.1 (Discrimination against women and girls) and 5.5 (Women in leadership), and the available data indicate that progress is extremely slow. Furthermore, according to the SDG Progress Report 2021 for Asia and the Pacific, efforts to expedite progress toward these goals must be ramped up.

UN Women has developed a swift and targeted response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls and to ensure that the long-term recovery benefits them. The response is focused on five priorities, including the following: (1) gender-based violence, including domestic violence, is mitigated and reduced, (2) social protection and economic stimulus packages serve women and girls, (3) people support and practice equal sharing of care work, (4) women and girls lead and participate in COVID-19 response planning and decision-making, and (5) data and coordination mechanisms include gender perspectives.

References:

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2020). Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020. United Nations. https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/publications/ESCAP_Asia_and_the_Pacific_SDG_Progress_Report_2020.pdf

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2021). Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2021. United Nations. https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/knowledge-products/ESCAP_Asia_and_the_Pacific_SDG_Progress_Report_2021.pdf

Eurostat. (2021). SDG 5 – Gender equality. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=SDG_5_-_Gender_equality

Joint SDG Fund. (2021, August 27). Municipalities are committed to the fight violence against children and women in Bolivia. Retrieved from https://www.jointsdgfund.org/article/municipalities-are-committed-fight-violence-against-children-and-women-bolivia

Philippine Commission on Women. (2015). Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://pcw.gov.ph/gender-equality-and-the-sustainable-development-goals/

Regional Information Centre for Western Europe. (2020, June 29). Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. United Nations. Retrieved from https://unric.org/en/sdg-5/

SDGs Philippines. (2019, September 9). Goal 5 – SDG. Retrieved from https://sdg.neda.gov.ph/goal-5/

Sustainable Development. (2021). Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. United Nations. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/

United Nations (2021). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2021/The-Sustainable-Development-Goals-Report-2021.pdf
United Nations Population Fund. (2020, March). COVID-19: A Gender Lens – Protecting Sexual And Reproductive Health And Rights, And Promoting Gender Equality. United Nations. https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdf/COVID-19_A_Gender_Lens_Guidance_Note.pdf

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