In the year 2000 all the 189 members of the UN through the United Nations Millennium Declaration launched a total of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the year 2015. All the UN member states as well as over 22 international in galvanization of efforts for development committed to work towards the attainment of the agreed upon goals. Areas of focus for the MDGs include gender equality, maternal health, poverty, education, disease, global partnership, child mortality and the environment. Every MDG has 21 specified achievement targets and over 60 performance indicators. In this paper is a review of the achievement of MDGs as at 2015 and how specific MDG on gender equality has been implemented as well as its impact.
As at 2015 the number of persons living on below $1.25 in a day trended downwards to just 836 million from 1.9 billion thus the target of halving the number of people in abject poverty was missed by just a whisker. On education, the goal for universal education was missed, enrolment in primary schools went up from 83 percent in the year 2000 to 91 percent. On MDG number three, approximately 2/3 of countries in the developing world attained gender parity in primary education. Child mortality also went down by half reaching 43 deaths for 1000 births from 90. Maternal mortality also dropped by almost a half being just short of the two thirds target. New HIV cases went down by 40percent over the period 2000-2013. This is short of the target of bringing infections to a complete halt and beginning to reduce the spread of the disease. Impressive work was on MDG 7 which was achieved in the year 2010 way ahead of target date. The goal was to halve people who could not access clean drinking water.
The UN sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are also referred to as global goals represent a universal to act and end poverty, protect the earth and create a planet where every person enjoys peace & prosperity. These 17 SDGs build on the MDGs and include other areas like climate change, innovation, eave & justice, economic inequality etc. they are greatly interconnected since often the successful attainment of one involves tackling issues that affect the others. The main reasons behind the SDGs is increasing global partnership to improve the state of life in a manner that is sustainable for generations to come. The SDGS therefore guide countries in addressing issues of the environment, causes of poverty and uniting for a better planet.
Gender equality is defined as a state equal opportunities and access to resources by all genders. It can only be attained by gender equity and neutrality. MDG 3 aims at promoting gender equality and empowering women. The MDG had just one target of eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by the year 2005 and at all levels by the year 2015. Promoting and ensuring equitable participation of all despite their genders is a very important effort at poverty eradication, improving food security and achieving sustainable rural development. With no gender parity and the empowerment of women both socially & economically the achieving food security is not possible. It is not just a basic human right but also comes with multiplier effects across all other areas of development.
MDG 3 on gender equality has achieved some very impressive steps towards universal access to resources and power for all. In the developing world for instance, gender parity has been attained with more girls being in school at 2015 as compared to the year 2000. As at 1990 there were 74 girls enrolling for primary education for every 100 boys in South Asia. In 2015 case chanced to 103 girls in schools for every 100 boys. The period 1991-2015 has also seen the number of women in vulnerable go down by 13%. Significant gains can also be seen when it comes to representation of women in parliaments over the same period. The number of women in parliament has actually increased by nearly 100% over the past two decades even though the ratio of women to men in parliament is still at 1:5. The proportion of women in the workplace has also tremendously increased. Challenges for implementing gender equality include enhancing human rights for women, removing gender stereotypes and unclear understanding of gender. Measuring success of the goal in future can be through indicators such reduced gender biased violence, equal opportunities in the labor market, enactment of anti-gender discrimination laws, ownership of properties & assets by women and equal representation in decision making.
In conclusion therefore we are on the path to universal achievement of gender equality and this is very good step towards food security. Attainment of gender equality has great multiplier effects on other SDGs. It will ensure education for all girls, active participation of women in social and economic processes, decision making, equal opportunities for all genders in the workplace, reduction of violence against women and ultimately human rights for all. I think this was one of the most important MDGs and therefore galvanizing efforts around is very important.
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