Gender equality, SDGs, Floors and Ceilings

Gender equality, SDGs and floors & ceilings

Box 1 Goal 5 Targets

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • 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
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • 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
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life
  • 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
  • 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
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 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

However there are several shortcomings of SDGs. Firstly, the direction of market led economic growth is considered appropriate, and the resulting inequities, climate change and disasters is not addressed. Producer groups, mutually aided cooperatives, health collectives and fair trade are showing that alternative models of development are possible. The earth cannot sustain unfettered “prosperity”, which underpins the SDG agenda Second, while Goal 10 refers to reducing inequality across age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status, it does not refer to bridging inequality across sexuality and gender orientation. The rights of transgender persons are not recognized in Goal 5. Gender is thus seen as a binary. Third, Goal 5 does not adequately emphasize working with boys and men on gender equality, use of violence to resolve conflicts, and violence against women . It does mention of sharing of housework by men, but this is not enough.  Further some targets like women’s property rights and inheritance rights are relevant only when property is equally distributed in the first place across households- this is not addressed.  Fourth, targets within Goal 5 also need to be context specific. Sex ratio at birth and child sex ratio are important indicators of gender equality in several countries of Asia. Caste based inequalities are not mentioned. Fifth, indicators for monitoring targets have not been evolved and data source for indicators are yet to be identified.

Finally, floors and ceilings are not set. For example, unless there is a ceiling on how many houses well to do persons can have, women from households without land can never build houses on their names. Floors are not specified, like what should be the ratio of wages for unskilled work  (where women dominate) and for managerial tasks (where men dominate).  Without an alternative sustainable paradigm built on floors, ceilings, and gender/social justice  the SDGs cannot be attained

 Cross posted:

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