Achieving full gender equality, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), could take close to 300 years if the current rate of progress continues, according to a report published by UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
The study reveals how gender disparities are worsening in the face of “cascading” global crises – such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change – coupled with the backlash against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The latest available Sustinable Development Goal (SDG) 5 data show that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.
‘Reverse this trend’
“This is a tipping point for women’s rights and gender equality as we approach the half-way mark to 2030,” said Sima Bahous, Executive Director at UN Women. “It is critical that we rally now to invest in women and girls to reclaim and accelerate progress. The data show undeniable regressions in their lives made worse by the global crises – in incomes, safety, education and health. The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all.”
Most vulnerable affected
Furthermore, it will take 140 years for women to achieve equal representation in leadership positions in the workplace, and 40 years for the same to happen in national parliaments. Meanwhile, to eradicate child marriage by 2030, progress will have to be 17 times faster than in the last decade, with girls from the poorest rural households and in conflict-affected areas expected to suffer the most.
Extreme poverty rising
The report also highlights a worrisome reversal on poverty reduction, with rising prices set to exacerbate the situation. If current trends continue, more women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa will live in extreme poverty by 2030 than today, according to the report.
The power of education
Other daunting facts from the report reveal that globally, women lost roughly $800 billion in income due to the pandemic. Despite a rebound, women’s participation in the job market is projected to decrease this year to 50.8 per cent, compared to 51.8 per cent in 2021.
Each additional year of schooling can increase a girl’s future earnings by up to 20 per cent, according to the report, with further impacts on poverty reduction, better maternal health, lower child mortality, greater HIV prevention and reduced violence against women.
This post was originally published by the UN News Centre. Click here to read