Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources, and rewards. Hence, everyone is affected by gender inequality. Where gender inequality exists, it is generally women who are excluded or disadvantaged concerning decision-making and access to economic and social resources. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
According to UNICEF, gender equality is when “women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities, and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike.”
All human development and human rights issues have gender dimensions. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies with full human potential and sustainable development. Accomplishing gender equality is one of 17 sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN General Assembly back in 1948.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. There has been progress over the last decades: more girls are going to school; fewer girls are forced into early marriage; more women are serving in parliament and in positions of leadership, and laws are being reformed to advance gender equality. Despite these gains, many challenges remain: discriminatory laws and social norms remain pervasive, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.
Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2022 presents the latest evidence on gender equality across all 17 goals, calling out the long road ahead to achieve gender equality. It emphasises the interlinkages among the goals, the pivotal force gender equality plays in driving progress across the SDGs, and women and girls’ central role in leading the way forward.
According to a UN report –
- 140 years is still needed for women to achieve equal representation in leadership positions in the workplace.
- 40 years for women to achieve equal representation in national Parliaments
- $800 billion in income lost by women due to pandemic
As per the ‘Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2022’ report published by UN Women and UN DESA, achieving full gender equality could take close to 300 years.