Gender inequality is a societal Ill that so many have risen up to loudly condemn. To show the importance of sexual equality, it has been deliberated upon and decisively imprinted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which 193 countries of the world signed up in 2015 with a vision to realising them latest 2030. The first index to measure the progress or otherwise of the SDG in terms of Gender Equally had however discovered and submitted that no country is yet set to accomplish gender equality by the deadline of 2030.
Melinda Gates, a co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had said this should serve as a wake-up call to the world to arise and give this clarion call all the efforts it requires to become a success. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are aimed at ending poverty and inequality and arresting the climatic crisis by 2030. It has however been discovered that even countries that scored highly in this inaugural index also still have a whole lot to do to achieve equality by 2030 and thereby improve the lives of their women. The index measured progress in 129 countries scoring them from 0 – 100, 100 meaning women are already seen as equals using indexes like do women have access to education? mobile banking, internet, safe water, safety from sexual assault and violence and so on. Countries with a score of 90 or more are making excellent progress while those with 59 or less score are making poor progress.
Some of the issues to be tackled include women dependence, gender pay gap, deprivation of power or denial of political representation, gender-based violence like rape, female genital mutilation, child marriage etc. The average score of the index is 65.7. This is considered a poor result. Only 21 countries achieved 80% and above with Denmark coming tops with 89.3%, Australia 10th with 85.2%, UK 17th with 82.2%, US 28th with 77.6%, China 74th with 64.7%, and Chad coming last with 33.4%. Twenty-one countries scored below 50%. It should be a matter of grave concern that the much laboured for the goal to end gender inequality and empower women against child marriage, lack of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and other women’s rights are being treated with such laxity.
Alison Holder, the director of Equal Measures 2030 said she hasn’t seen any country taking the necessary steps to tackle prevalent problems, even among the high scoring countries.
‘I don’t see how naturally these problems will go away. Even among the best scoring countries, there are still massive problems,’ she said. Holder is also afraid that there could be regression among the nations that are seemingly doing well considering the abortion laws in the US and challenges to Women’s Rights at the United Nations. ‘We need to guard against countries falling backwards,’ she stated.
What is happening in the US with the Trump administration can set a wrong precedent and influence key language in International agreements given its immense power. There are now shreds of evidence of gender inequalities which can be submitted to policymakers who have always asked for evidence. Europe and North American countries are on top of the index while the African States were down the index. Some low GDP states actually fare better than the wealthier nation using some criteria. For example Lithuania top Denmark on education, Senegal and Rwanda top Denmark on Women MP population, Brazil, Chinà and Nicaragua top Canada, Norway and Netherlands in actualizing needs for family planning.