To Achieve Agenda 2030, We Must End Gender Discrimination

By Sascha Gabizon, WECF

The Agenda 2030 calls for the universal achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aiming at the well-being of all. In particular, the agenda focuses on “not leaving anyone behind” thus concentrating on the most marginalised and excluded. This requires strong policies to address inequalities in the European Union and globally, including to end gender-based discrimination and barriers.

The new SDG report “Turning Promises into Action” by UN WOMEN shows the gender-inequalities in Europe. The gender pay gap and the pension pay gap will persist for another 150+ years if we don’t take strong measures. One out of 6 women in the EU says she has experienced some form of sexual harassment or violence, at home, in public places and at work. The #MeToo movement has been able to show the widespread sexual harassment of women in their workplaces, including in the civil society sector.

The labour force participation rate among women of prime working age (aged 25-54) in Europe stands at 79% and is 12% lower than men of the same age group (91%). Globally, 23.7% of women hold parliamentary seats – in Europe, Iceland has the highest proportion of women at 47.6% in contrast to Hungary where only 10.1% of the parliamentary seats are held by women. Lower participation by women is partly due to their higher burden of unpaid care and domestic work – women in the EU work 2 times as many hours for unpaid care than men.

The dimensions of inequality are manifold. Imbalances also exist among women, due to intersecting structures of power such as racism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia etc. The need for SDG5 implementation is as high for Europe as it is globally. Ending gender-based discrimination and other forms of exclusion are at the core of achieving the Agenda 2030.

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