Let us start with the facts. A society is sustainable when it pursues economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Women account for 49-51% of the human population.
What is the link between these two facts? To grasp it, we can look at Agenda 2030: in fact, Goal 5 focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Although the connection between sustainability and gender equality may not seem obvious, the United Nations explains it is essential. On the road to sustainable development, a society that does not protect half its population fails its ultimate goal.
In recent years there has been significant progress towards increased recognition and equal rights for women. In many countries, the number of women in leadership positions is increasing, schooling is rising, and early marriages and pregnancies are decreasing. However, one in five women has experienced at least one sexual or physical violence by their partner in the last year. Many countries still apply discriminatory laws to women who do not have the same economic, civil, and self-determination rights as men.
The pandemic has further emphasized both the importance and vulnerability of women. They play essential roles in society, but these are often not paid or recognized as work. National lockdowns have had a disproportionate impact on women, who often gave up economic independence to carry out household and care work.
Women have substantial unexpressed potential, which is an essential resource for society.
Pursuing gender equality in terms of rights, education, and employment will fully recognize that 50% of the human population is constantly forced to scale back its ambitions, not finding the conditions to express its full potential.
For example, ensuring that women receive a proper education makes them more independent in their working decisions and private lives. The better educated a woman is, the more she will make autonomous and free decisions about her sexuality and motherhood.
To date, women hold more than 30% of the seats in at least one chamber in 46 countries. Globally, however, women’s political representation is just 23%. While half of the world’s population is female, women are still treated as a minority and often do not have the opportunity to defend their rights.
Attention is growing to gender equality issues, and that’s a good sign. A shift in mindset is needed to achieve the targets outlined in Agenda 2030: education is crucial, but individual commitment also matters.
The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just, and peaceful life for allAung San Suu Kyi
Achieving Goal 5 is essential, and the issue of equality crosses the entire Agenda 2030. Giving more space to women, encouraging them to reach leading positions in politics and the economy can be the first step towards a real revolution. As many female thinkers have pointed out, women can provide a fresh alternative to the dominant male-centric vision on crucial topics such as economic, environmental, and social issues.
Supporting women in their struggle for equality is not just a matter of civilization. Having a more significant number of women in decision-making positions is an advantage for society. The Agenda 2030 points in the right direction. The challenge is to overcome the prejudices that still hold back women. Solidarity and trust are the fundamental principles.