Transformative Equality: Making the Sustainable Development Goals Work for Women
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 June 2016
It is generally agreed by most observers that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have fallen short of achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. Today, women continue to be more likely than men to live in poverty, and more than 18 million girls in sub-Saharan Africa are out of school. One of the crucial reasons for the failure of the MDGs in relation to women was their inability to address the deeply entrenched and interlocking factors that perpetuate women's disadvantage. The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, constitute an improvement over the MDGs. Goal 5, which enshrines the stand-alone goal on gender equality, is comprised of nine specific targets, including the elimination of gender-based violence and access to reproductive health. In addition, gender equality is mainstreamed into numerous others goals. Given that the global community is now poised to implement the SDGs, the challenge is how best to integrate a transformative approach into the planning, implementation, and delivery of the specific targets so that the SDGs contribute to achieving gender equality and women's empowerment.
- Roundtable: Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
- Ethics & International Affairs , Volume 30 , Issue 2 , Summer 2016 , pp. 177 - 187
- Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2016
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2 For example, see SDG 1.b where states undertake to pursue gender-sensitive poverty policies.
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4 Sandra Fredman, Discrimination Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), ch. 1.
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32 United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, “Girls' Right to Education,” UN document E/CN.4/2006/45, February 8, 2006, para. 66.
33 Elizabeth King and Rebecca Winthrop, “Today's Challenges for Girl's Education, Background Paper for the Oslo Summit on Education for Development (July 6–7, 2015), Executive Summary,” p. 10, www.ungei.org/resources/files/todays_challenges_for_girls_education_exec_sum.pdf.
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35 United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, “Final Draft of the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights,” UN document A/HRC/21/39, July 18, 2012, para. 88(a).
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38 Ibid., para. 15, 17. However, CCTs remain controversial, and there is some evidence that they do not necessarily guarantee greater gender equality or empowerment. For example, see Corboz, Julienne, “Third-Way Neoliberalism and Conditional Cash Transfers: The Paradoxes of Empowerment, Participation and Self-Help among Poor Uruguayan Women,” Australian Journal of Anthropology 24, no. 1 (2013), p. 64 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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