Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Image credit: World Bank Photo
In 1966, the subject of gender equality was considered taboo.
In 2016, gender equality is in every newspaper; it is on the agenda of most boards of large corporations around the country. It is an issue discussed all the way from family dinner conversations to Parliament House.
In 50 years, men and women have pushed the agenda so far into the public domain that it has transformed from an unspeakable subject matter to one of the biggest policy points facing politicians today.
Image credit: Boston Public Library
The best thing of all? All 193 United Nations member states signed up to achieving gender equality through the Global Goals. That’s every country in the world finally accepting the need to treat women equal to men!
What exactly does Goal 5 aim to achieve?
Firstly, every country has signed up to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere! That means at home, at work, at school, in social groups… literally everywhere.
Target 5.2 then moves on to talk about domestic violence – a growing concern in Australia. The Global Goals aim to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls, in both public and private spheres. One in every three women over the age of 15 in Australia have been subjected to physical violence. That means between 3.5 and 4 million Australian women have experienced violence in some form. These numbers are chilling. It’s a reality many of us do not want to face but a reality which needs to be addressed.
Target 5.3 aims to eliminate all harmful practices against girls and women. These include, but are not limited to, child, early and forced marriage and, more horrifically, female genital mutilation (FGM). Some Australians may think these do not exist in Australia; however, there have been numerous cases of both early marriage and FGM in this country.
Image credit: DFID
The Global Goals also address the need to value unpaid care and domestic work. This includes the provision of public services, social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility.
Target 5.5 aims to ensure women’s full and effective participation as well as equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life. This means we need to increase the amount of women who represent companies on boards to 50%. We need to increase the amount of women in key leadership positions to 50%, and we need to increase the amount of women leading our country in a political capacity from 27% to 50%. We must also increase the number of women participating in the workforce. Some innovative ideas for this include childcare drop-in centres, balancing maternity and paternity leave and, most importantly, flexible work arrangements including working from home and flexible schedules.
Finally, the Global Goals aim to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights to ensure women are in control of their bodies and, therefore, are in control of their lives.
To achieve all of the above, the Global Goals encourage countries to ensure women have equal rights to economic resources and enabling technology; however, it is also necessary to adopt and strengthen policies and legislation.
If achieving gender equality, not only around the world but also in our own backyard stirs your passion for fighting inequality and eradicating poverty, check out “Goal 5: Gender Equality” and head over to our “What Can I Do?” page to see how you can become involved in achieving the Global Goals!