Challenges and Importance of Gender Equality


Gender equality refers to sharing equal rights regardless of gender.

This article aims to introduce the challenges that should be made aware of in order to achieve gender equality.

Additionally, it will present the importance of gender equality and the 9 targets they have in place.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


SDGs, set by the United Nations Summit in September of 2015, refer to the Sustainable Development Goals common to the international community.

Preceding the establishment of SDGs, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were introduced with similar motives.

The features of SDGs can largely be divided into two objectives:

  • The 17 Goals
  • 169 Targets

The 17 Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are as follows :

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequality
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal

The 17 goals mentioned above target a wide range of issues, from poverty to technological innovation.

Its successful attraction of international attention stems from the fact that it not only aims to solve issues with gender equality, but also considers possible obstacles of future economic growth.

169 Targets

169 Targets

The 169 targets go further in detail, distinguishing the particulars of the 17 goals introduced earlier.

An example of this is “Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality”. Its specifics are as follows:

  • 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
  • 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 level

The above accounts are not only required to actively be implemented in developed countries, but likewise in developing countries.

Challenges for Achieving Gender Equality

Challenges for Achieving Gender Equality

There are 4 main challenges to achieving gender equality as listed below:

  • Early marriage
  • Women’s Full and Effective Participation in Decision-Making
  • Consideration towards Women
  • Human Trafficking

Separate to those mentioned above, there still exist numerous problems in relation to violence and discrimination against women and girls that are taken up as international issues.

The proactive implementation and realization of the SDG’s goal of “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls” is an essential aspect to fulfill a society in which all people, men and women, live equally.

Let us take a look into the 4 main challenges that the realization of gender equality is faced with.

Early Marriage

In accordance with a report released by the International Development Center, approximately 650 million women and girls had gotten married by the age of 18.

Early marriage raises an abundance of risks especially for females, including domestic violence or the loss of opportunity to receive education, and is perceived as an alarming social issue.

In addition to this, the risk of young pregnancies largely increases, also correlating to the endangerment of the lives of the mothers due to complications with childbirth.

Child marriage is declining overall, yet the rate of this descent is gradual. Especially in Africa, the rate of decline cannot keep up with the rapid population growth, and the number of child marriages is expected to increase from the current 125 million to 310 million by 2050. – UNICEF

As states above, UNICEF proclaims the decrease of early marriages, however concerns still remain with respect to its further increase in the future. This affair continues to exist as an immense international issue.

Women’s Full and Effective Participation in Decision-Making

Women’s Full and Effective Participation in Decision-Making

Through the active participation of women in the decision-making process, it allows for the reflection of their will, thoughts and intentions in areas ranging from the public sector to politics.

Female participation is delayed to a high degree in the current global situation.

An example that highlights this issue and acts as an index for measuring gender equality is the ration of female members in parliament.

This goal for gender equality and the realization of a sustainable society heavily relies on the participation of women in the political and economic decision-making process.

Consideration towards Women

In developing countries such as Africa, there is a large female population who do not wish to become pregnant, and therefore there is a necessity for the availability of modern contraceptives in consideration of women.

The below account defines the maintaining of physical, mental and social health for women.

People have a safe and satisfying sexual life and are free to decide whether to get married, whether to have children and if so, how many. – International Development Research Centre

The more women have control over the time between marriage and if they wish to, give birth, the more options they are presented with for their future. As a result of this, there is a larger possibility for the realization of gender equality in the future.

Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking causes colossal mental and physical damage and is recognized as an international problem that is in grave need for resolution.

An example of this is the sexual transgressions that take place, such as pornography and forced prostitution, leaving countless women suffering the consequences of mental and physical damage.

An additional international issue is the increasing male victims of forced labor in recent years.

Movements of Gender Equality

Movements of Gender Equality

There are international contributions working together towards the realization of gender equality.

There are 2 dominant movements and organizations aimed at bringing about gender equality:

  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  • UN Women

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, consisting of 23 experts, holds constructive discussions concerning reports submitted by various Parties at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva thrice annually.

Expressly, it is an international committee that works towards the goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.

Furthermore, it contributes to endeavors to deepening the understanding of the means of enjoying women’s rights.

UN Women

UN Women
The United Nations’ organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women was established through the integration of the following 4 United Nations agencies and offices:

  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • Office of the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
  • United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women(UN-INSTRAW)

Their main objective lies in aiding the realization of the rights of women and girls around the world, accelerate the fulfillment of their needs and in the big picture, achieve their goal of sustainable development.

Moreover, it supports the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as assists the Commission on the Status of Women and other intergovernmental organizations.

The Importance of Achieving Gender Equality

The Importance of Achieving Gender Equality

Achieving gender equality is crucial in reducing poverty, the opportunity for all children to be educated, and the maintaining of good health by all.

Education for women and girls is attracting increasing attention as an indispensable feature for the future expansion of economic growth and the promotion of social development.

Furthermore, statistics have demonstrated that women’s participation in the labor force significantly raises the country’s growth rate, amplifying the importance of gender equality as an element of SDGs.

Mending prejudice and spreading awareness of gender equality is imperative in its realization; a society in which men and women may live equally.

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