Gender gap endures en route to SDGs, warns UN Women.

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In its latest Gender Snapshot report, UN Women, the United Nations’ gender equality agency, cautions that as we reach the midway point towards the SDGs, the prevailing trends suggest a troubling scenario: by 2030, over 340 million women and girls may find themselves trapped in poverty. This alarming figure accounts for approximately eight percent of the global female population.

Furthermore, nearly one in four women will face varying degrees of food insecurity, and if current progress rates persist, the next generation of women will still bear the burden of dedicating 2.3 more hours each day to unpaid caregiving and domestic duties compared to men.

Additionally, the report underscores that gender disparities persist stubbornly within positions of power and leadership.
‘Call to action’

Sarah Hendriks, the acting Deputy Executive Director of the agency, termed it an “urgent call to action.”

“We must act collectively and purposefully now to redirect our course towards a world where every woman and girl enjoys equal rights, opportunities, and representation. Achieving this requires steadfast commitment, innovative solutions, and collaboration across all sectors and stakeholders.”

The report offers a comprehensive analysis of gender-related aspects across all 17 SDGs, reflecting the ambitious aim of achieving genuine equality. It introduces sex-disaggregated data on the intersection of gender and climate change for the first time, projecting that, under a worst-case climate scenario by mid-century, climate change could push up to 158.3 million more women and girls into poverty, exceeding the figures for men and boys by 16 million.

The report also highlights the disproportionate challenges faced by older women, who experience higher rates of poverty and violence than older men. In 28 out of 116 countries with available data, fewer than half of older women have access to pensions.

At the midway point to 2030, progress on SDG 5, which focuses on gender equality, is significantly off course. The report reveals that the world is falling short in its efforts to support women and girls, with only two Goal 5 indicators approaching the target and none reaching the “target met or nearly met” level.

In financial terms, the report suggests that an additional $360 billion per year is required to achieve equality and empower women across key goals.

Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, who leads Policy Coordination at the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), stressed that gender equality is not merely a goal within the 2030 Agenda but the very cornerstone of a just society. She emphasized that breaking down barriers hindering the full participation of women and girls in all aspects of society would unleash untapped potential driving progress and prosperity for everyone.

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