Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
The UN explains: “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”
The UN has defined 9 Targets and 14 Indicators for SDG 5. Targets specify the goals and Indicators represent the metrics by which the world aims to track whether these Targets are achieved.
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
5.3: Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.4: Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6: Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
5.b: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c: Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
Empowering women is a precondition to solving poverty, inequality and violence against women. In developing countries, closing the pay and access to work gap to equal that of men could mean women could be better off to the tune of $9 trillion.
Closing the employment gap between men and women could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025 (by advancing women’s equality). $28 trillion would be added if women were to play an identical role to men in the labour markets.
From a business perspective, providing the same pay, promotion, and benefits for work, as well as opportunities to join the board, with disregard to the jobholder’s sex, is a simple strategy that would make a big difference. In addition, firms with greater board level diversity perform better … looking at the Fortune 500, firms with the highest percentage of women outperform those with the lowest (the top quartile out-performing the bottom quartile by 53% for return on equity and 66% for return on invested capital).
What can business do? Pay men and women the same rate for the work they do. Promote on merit. Implement policies that encourage women to remain in the workplace e.g. flexible working and maternity policies.