Gender Equality is not only a goal, it is the implementation of equality into daily life (SDGs 5)- Part A

Gender Equality is not  only a  goal, it is the implementation of equality into daily life – SDGs 5 (Gender Equality)

Part A

Original Article: Ms. Bai Yi-jiun

Sources: NPOst (

Translated by: Eden Social Welfare Foundation

Special thanks to: Diane Hsieh & Amy Hsieh (translation volunteer)

October 2016, Japan's TBS channel released a drama "We Married as a Job!" that caused a sensation throughout the autumn. (Spoiler alert) Japan’s sweetheart actress Aragaki Yui acted a modern woman who could only find a contracted part-time job in business corporation after graduate school. After termination of the contract, she finds another job doing housework for a bachelor engineer Hoshino Gen. This job rewards better in terms of wage and work contents. As the two people gradually fall in love and marriage, they meet the problem of whether women should get pays and other labor rights as full-time housewives.

Alongside, the eight Emmy Awards winner of this year, the American TV series “The Handmaid's Tale” also discussed when fertility rates collapse leads to human race surviving issue, women function is limited to fertility and women’s sovereignty attributes to the country. The film creates a utopia where literacy, property, and liberty rights are deprived from women. As the utopia seems to be a better world, it brings adverse conditions to specific groups of people.

While "We Married as a Job!" is a romantic comedy that highlights the difficulty of women to accumulate wealth and respect switching between careers and families, “The Handmaid's Tale” is an apocalypse of women’s loss of property, education, and personal rights in the “future world”. The author of “The Handmaid's Tale” Margaret Atwood mentioned in an interview that “I didn’t put anything into the book that has not happened sometime, somewhere. Or wasn’t happening then and isn’t happening now.” She reflects the historical events of violence being put on females physically and mentally in her story. Not surprisingly, the violence still happens nowadays in many female’s lives.

photo credit: TBS

“All men are created equal.” The theory not yet completely apply to women.

Therefore, what are the images of “survival” or life for modern women? Also, what are our aspects of gender equality in the future? Let’s first look at some statistics from the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals Reports (MDG Report) in 2015 –

Up to now, the right to education of females all around the world has risen greatly from 20 years ago. In developing countries, gender equality has been reached 60% in elementary education, 36% in secondary education, and sharply decreased to 4% in higher education. However, the other statistical numbers are not as optimistic after females leaving campus at different stages. While 77% of the males globally enter the workforce, only half of the females enter the workforce and get paid 24% less than the males. Higher percentage of females lack economic and social security benefits. Although the number of female participants in congress has doubled in the past 20 years, female participants still only account for 1/5 seats in politics.

The “Forum in Women’s and Gender Studies” published by National Taiwan University this April and “Gender Equality: Why it Matters” published by UN Women and the United Nations list out the following statistics in their feature reports respectively: 1.03 billion of females cannot open bank accounts in formal financial institutions, females account for over 40% of the agricultural labor force, females provide over 90% of the “home-based meals” all over the world but they are the first to be sacrificed in food shortages. In addition, over 200 million females never enjoy the fundamental medical care, about 5 million females under the age of 18 are forced to get married each year, and only 50% of pregnant women have access to basic pregnancy check-ups. Up to 35% of the females stated they had been subjected to physical or sexual violence (this number does not include many unspoken individuals). It is estimated that at least 200 million females worldwide have undergone different forms of circumcision. The penetration rate of worldwide internet for females is 11% below males…

From life safety to economic independence, public health and community participation, gender equality still has a long way to go.

From MDGs to SDGs: Equality in all aspects beyond empowerment

MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women: To eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005, and in all levels of education by 2015.


SDGs  5 :Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.


photo credit: Geektown(Hulu)

Although ‘gender equality’ was put forward as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (‘MDGs’ henceforth), it appeared to be rather unidimensional by simply calling for empowerment. Reviewing of MDGs progress found that although advocacy and financial investment in ‘women empowerment’ did translate to higher educational attainment among women, gender-based inequality in safety, economic autonomy, legal rights, and public affairs are still very much concerning. The United Nation (UN), in their Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’ henceforth) explicitly stated that ‘women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.’ Thus, more specific indicators of gender equality and empowerment is called for. Gender equality, as one of the 17 SDGs, includes 14 more specific targets (e.g., eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation). In fact, according to UN Women, the word gender or sex appeared 39 times in the other 155 targets (23%) of the remaining 16 goals. Furthermore, the SDGs emphasizes gender equality by urging it as critical consideration in the evaluations for all the goals. Giving gender equality such emphasis highlights the fact that gender issue is embedded in every political economic, social, cultural, and other aspects of our lives.

Here are some examples of how gender equality is tightly intertwined with other SDGs.Among the specific targets of SDG-5 “gender equality”, four targets speaks to public safety and health: (SDG-5.1) end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, (SDG-5.2) eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, (SDG-5.3) eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and (SDG-5.6) ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

photo credit: @ Unsplash

Among the specific targets of SDG-5 “gender equality”, two targets speaks to economic autonomy: (SDG-5.4) recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate, and (SDG-5.7) undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Among the specific targets of SDG-5 “gender equality”, two targets speaks to participation in public affairs: (SDG-5.5) Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life, (SDG-5.8) enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women, and (SDG-5.9) adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

Gender equality is also emphasized among the targets of other SDGs. For example,  in SDG-1 “no poverty”, one of the specific targets is “by 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance”. In SDG-2 “zero hunger”, one of the specific targets is “by 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons”. In SDG-4 “quality education”, gender emphasized target include “build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all”, and in SDG-6 “water and sanitation”, gender emphasized target include “by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”. The above mentioned are but just a few of the examples.