No country is on track to achieve the gender equality called for in the United Nations’s development blueprint, a report released on Tuesday said.
In 2015, all United Nations member states adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve by 2030 in areas such as education, climate, and gender equality.
But the new report says countries aren’t on the right track to meet the gender equality benchmark, which requires eliminating discrimination and violence against women and ending harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.
“We’re literally failing to deliver on the gender equality promises made in the (SDGs) for billions of girls and women,” said Alison Holder, director of Equal Measures 2030, which put together the SDG Gender Index report.
“Even more worrying for me is 1.4 billion girls and women live in countries that got a ‘very poor’ failing score on the index,” she said, speaking on the sidelines of the Women Deliver gender equality conference in Vancouver.
Using data from 129 countries, the survey shows that wealthy nations like Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands were making the most progress while poor or unstable countries such as Chad, DR Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Yemen and Niger were falling behind.
There were also “pockets of good news even in struggling countries,” said Holder.
For example, Senegal is closer to achieving gender parity in its parliament than Denmark, even though Senegal’s GDP is 56 times lower.
However, no country has fully achieved gender equality, the report said.
The findings of the index indicate a lack of political will to invest in advancing gender equality, according to Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, chief executive officer of Plan International, a child rights charity that contributed to the report.
She hopes to see advocacy groups and activists take up the data from the gender index and use it to mount “clever political campaigns to generate actions.”
The survey isn’t the first to show the tough road ahead for the SDGs.
A report released last month said that despite 150 million people gaining access to electricity every year, the SDG of assuring affordable and clean energy was not on track to be reached.
Image: LEHTIKUVA/AFP / Roni Rekomaa The UN survey shows richer countries like Finland have made the most progress on gender equality