One of the main Sustainable Development Goals, set out in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda, seeks to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. But why is this goal regarded as indispensable to achieving sustainable development? According to UN data, 19% of women between 15 and 49 years-old say they had suffered physical or sexual violence – or both – at their hands of their partner in the year before they were surveyed. This is not just a question of physical integrity, however; it also concerns aspects such as labor rights. Women still don’t enjoy the same conditions in the workplace as men - and worldwide earn an average 24% less.
To address these and other questions - such as forced marriages between adults and girls and adolescents who are still minors, genital mutilation, political under-representation, and guaranteed access to sexual education - International Women’s Day has been held on 8 March every year since 1911. The event this year will revolve around the following theme: “Time is now: rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.
Women in the workplace
Gender equality is currently focusing especially on the workplace. The report, 'Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development', published recently by UN Women, focuses on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a gender perspective, in which women assume a special role.
The study analyzes the role actors responsible for fulfilling the SDGs must play, i.e. governments, society and companies. Centered on the private sector, the report makes the following points:
- If certain measures are not taken, it will take another 68 years for salary equality to be reached worldwide.
- The global employability rate of men is 94%, while for women it is 63%.
- Women make up 23,7% of the members of national parliaments.
- Women dedicate 2,6 times more hours than men to unpaid activities such as domestic work and caring for other people.
- Just 13% of agricultural land in the world is managed by women.
Gender Equality Week
In parallel, several organizations across a wide spectrum of areas are also holding Gender Equality Week around the same time. The week will consist of many events and actions in different cities, such as debates, presentations and exhibitions that focus attention on the role of women in different scenarios, as well as campaigning for the achievement of real equality with regard to men.