Assessing progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 5 at national and community levels


Guest lecture by Ranjani K Murthy organized by Community of Evaluators, Nepal, 20th June, 2016

This session seeks to demonstrate how progress towards SDG 5 could be assessed from national to community level using statistics and gender-sensitive participatory methods respectively 

 Background to SDG 5

Gender integration in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an improvement over integration in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many ways.  Apart from a stand-alone SDG (5) ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, gender equality is integrated into several other of the 17 goals (though not all).  Targets of stand-alone goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment cover spheres not in MDGs like ending all forms of discrimination, violence and harmful traditional practices against women and girls. Targets also emphasise women’s equal access to, and ownership, of productive resources, equal participation in decision making in all realms, valuing unpaid work, promoting shared responsibility promoting universal access to SRHR etc.  

Indicators been evolved by the Inter-Agency Expert Group meeting, 2016 related to 169 targets (for 17 goals) which it divides into three tiers

  • Tier I: Indicator conceptually clear, established methodology and standards available and data regularly produced by countries
  • Tier II: Indicator conceptually clear, established methodology and standards available but data are not regularly produced by countries
  • Tier III: Indicator for which there are no established methodology and standards or methodology/standards are being developed/tested

As of March, 2016, eighteen (18) indicators have been evolved related to SDG 5

Monitoring SDG-5

Progress towards SDG-5 can be assessed from national to community levels, and some even at the household level! At national level progress can be assessed for Tier I indicators. To give an example, proportion of women in Parliament and local governments is a Tier I indicator and progress in this regard can be assessed using national statistics.  The frequency with which data on unpaid work of women/girls and men/boys- a Tier II indicator- is gathered may need to be increased. However, assessing Tier III indicators like proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care require sub-indicators. These need to be developed in national/ethnic/community context and both qualitative and quantitative sub-indicators are required   Taking examples the speaker illustrates how an indicator could be tracked nationally, and brainstorms on developing sub-indicators for Tier III indicators.

At the district level, decentralised monitoring of relevant/prioritised SDG indicators is possible for SDG 5, and was attempted with MDG 3 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and other MDGs by UNDP in developing countries.  At district and community levels leaders of women’s groups/CBOs, trade unions, local government and NGOs should prioritize international SDG 5 indicators relevant to their context and add news ones where necessary.  Apart from government data, participatory gender-sensitive methods could be used for monitoring progress towards SDG 5, illustrated with a few examples

SDG Target




End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

Discrimination matrix, role plays and stories


End Domestic violence by intimate partner

Violence mapping


End violence by non-intimate partner

Violence mapping


Eliminate early marriage



Equal sharing of work

Twenty four hour clock by sex


Equal decision making by women

Mapping: Representation, attendance, agenda setting influence, decision making by sex


Universal sexual and reproductive health and rights

Body mapping


Equal Ownership of resources

Gender-sensitive resource mapping


Using data to evolve plans and policies is important!



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Comment by Rukmini Panda on July 19, 2016 at 13:20

sure Ranjinidi. Thanks to you also for so thoughtfully presenting the methods.



Comment by Ranjani K.Murthy on July 19, 2016 at 12:37

Dear Rukmini and Susanna

Thanks for your kind comments

If you try using this and have queries please email me at Will respond.

Best Ranjani  

Comment by Rukmini Panda on July 18, 2016 at 13:34
Many a thanks Ranjinidi. Its really very useful discussion.
Comment by Susanne Lucie BAUER on July 18, 2016 at 11:02

Thank You dear Ranjany, point 5.1 - 5.7 are most instructive! This helps to specify gender relevance in evaluations, sometimes put into question by team leaders who apparently have little information or interest in specifying what gender concerns imply.

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