World abandoning women, girls: UN

AFP , Thursday 7 Sep 2023

From the fight against poverty to education access, from political representation to economic opportunity, the world is "failing women and girls," the United Nations warned in a report on gender equality released Thursday.

Women rights
File photo: A girl looks on among Afghan women lining up to receive relief assistance in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, June 11, 2017. REUTERS


The report from UN Women reviewed the progress made on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted by the body's members in 2015, which were meant to create a better world for all by 2030.

The results of the review are grim.

"When we look at the data, it does look like the world is failing to advance and achieve gender equality," deputy executive director of UN Women Sarah Hendriks told AFP.

"And it is becoming, I'd say, an increasingly distant goal," she added.

The goal focused on gender equality aims by the end of the decade to eliminate gender discrimination, violence against women, forced marriages and genital mutilation, to make domestic work more equal, to guarantee access to reproductive health care and to ensure women's participation in political and economic life.

But "halfway to 2030, the world is failing women and girls," the report warns, with most of the goal's targets falling behind.

Ever year, 245 million women over age 15 are victims of physical violence by their partners, one in five women are married before age 18, women spend 2.8 more hours per day doing unpaid housework than their male counterparts and women represent only 26.7 percent of all lawmakers worldwide.

To change those trends, it would cost some $360 billion in additional investments per year in 50 developing countries, representing some 70 percent of the world's population, the agency estimates.

That money would "enable the lifting of the entire SDG agenda," Hendriks said.

"We know what needs to be done and the world needs to pay for it," she said.

"And if we make gender equality that specific objective of development, the trajectory can change," she said, by "strengthening mutual accountability to place women and girls at the center."

In July, the UN rang the alarm on the SDGs overall, saying they are "in peril" and calling for a "rescue plan" ahead of a summit set for September 18 and 19.

According to the UN Women report, the outcomes for many of global development goals are worse for women than they are for humanity overall.

For example, at the current rate, 575 million people will still live in extreme poverty by 2030, a far cry from the eradication the UN hoped for. And of those, 342 million of them will be women, or about 8 percent of the women in the world, according to the report.

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