One hundred and ninety three countries signed an international agreement at the United Nations in September 2015 to transform the world by 2030. Among many sustainable development goals, a significant one was achieving gender equality. The Equal Measures 2030 partnership, an independent report published mid 2019, reveals how far we are from that reality. According to the findings "no country has fully achieved the promise of gender equality." After measuring relevant data, the study ranks Denmark, Sweden, Norway at position 1, 2, 3 respectively, Canada comes 8th, while the United States of America lags behind at 28th position. Unsurprisingly India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan are towards the bottom at 95, 110, 80 and 113 respectively.
Globally, we all have a long, long way to go. But change is not only generated by Government policies and international agreements, it emanates and swells from the ground in tectonic movements...
A work in progress
Tunisia, which scores 67th position in the study, has started its own Me Too movement called #EnaZeda, which now has more than 20,000 members - women aware and conscious of achieving their rights.
Japan's recent #KuToo movement against the rigid office dress code of high heels is another indicator of the mobilization of women's voices against sexism and discriminatory practices.
Highly conservative Iran has finally lifted its ban, permitting women soccer fans to attend soccer games, even though in a segregated stand. The change did not come lightly but after the self-immolation of soccer fan Sahar Khodayari in protest.
Easier to be a man in the United States?
The United States was the crucible of the Me Too movement but its 28th position in the Equal Measures 2030 partnership report indicates that, despite strong women's rights advocacy, much needs to be achieved.
Another poll conducted by National Geographic magazine reveals that a majority of women queried in the survey "overwhelmingly believe that sexual discrimination and harassment is a national problem—as big as racial discrimination". And, interestingly, "slightly more than half say it’s easier to be a man in America today"!
But there is also a lot to celebrate, cautiously. Public perceptions are changing. And women are increasingly becoming the game changers.
SDG Gender Index
The 2019 SDG Gender Index provides a snapshot of where the world stands, right now, linked to the vision of gender equality set forth by the 2030 Agenda. It measures the state of gender equality aligned to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 129 countries in five regions and 51 issues ranging from health, gender-based violence, climate change, decent work and others. Overall, the index finds that, across all the goals and indicators studied, no country has fully achieved the promise of gender equality.
From Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
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