MIL-OSI Asia-Pac: Snapshot Report Shows 17 SDGs through Lens of Gender Equality

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Source: Small Island Developing States

UN Women released a gender snapshot of progress towards the SDGs, presenting evidence on gender equality in the context of each of the 17 Global Goals. It also assesses progress on the indicators for SDG 5 (gender equality); only one of the 18 indicators is assessed as “close to target.” UN Women also published a feminist plan for sustainability.

Released on 17 September 2021, the publication titled, ‘Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2021,’ outlines the immediate effects of the pandemic on women’s wellbeing and how it threatens future generations of women and girls. It shows that recovering from COVID-19 and “building forward differently and better” will require gender-responsible laws, policies, and budgeting. 

Women are underrepresented in the energy sector, holding only 32% of renewable energy jobs.

The authors report that:

  • SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing): During the first year of the pandemic, an estimated 12 million women in 115 lower- and middle-income countries experienced disruptions in family planning services, leading to an estimated 1.4 million unintended pregnancies. On SDG 5 (gender equality), the report says that calls to domestic violence helplines increased by 79% in Colombia, 50% in China and 40% in Malaysia, with an estimated 245 million women and girls globally already subjected to violence by an intimate partner in the previous year.
  • SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy): Women hold only 32% of renewable energy jobs and 22% of traditional energy jobs, as of 2019.
  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth): The number of employed women declined by 54 million during the pandemic, and 45 million left the workforce altogether.
  • SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities): Women infected with COVID-19 and living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of slums were over twice as likely to die, compared to infected women living in a neighborhood with no slums.
  • SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions): Women chair only 18% of government committees on foreign affairs, defense, finance, and human rights.

The report reviews the indicators under SDG 5, showing progress for each region and globally. At the global level, none of the 18 indicators are “met or almost met” and only one is “close to target”: Proportion of seats held by women in local governments (SDG indicator 5.5.1).

Two are “far from target”: Ratio of unpaid domestic and care work, by sex (SDG indicator 5.4.1) and Proportion of women and girls who make informed decisions on reproductive health (SDG indicator 5.6.1). Six indicators have insufficient data to assess distance to the target. The rest are assessed as “moderate distance from target.” 

UN Women also released a report that lays out a “feminist plan for sustainability and social justice.” The Feminist Plan launched on 16 September aims to provide a road map to prioritize gender equality, social justice, and sustainability in COVID-19 recovery and wider transformation, and specifies the policies needed.

The report calls for improvements including:

  • Investing in the care economy and social infrastructure, which it says could create 40-60% more jobs than the same investments in construction;
  • Harnessing the potential of the transition to environmental sustainability, which could create up to 24 million jobs in renewable energy and other areas – to which women should have equal access;
  • Promoting women’s leadership across institutional spaces: women make up 70% of health care workers globally, but hold only 24% of seats on COVID-19 taskforces that have coordinated the policy response around the world; and
  • Increasing funding for women’s organizations. Women’s rights organizations received only 1% of all OECD-DAC aid allocated to gender equality in 2018-2019.

[Publication: Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2021] [Publication: Beyond COVID-19: A feminist plan for sustainability and social justice] [UN news]

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