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Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals
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By UNITAR
4 Lessons
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About this course

Gender equality is intertwined with all Sustainable Development Goals. This UNITAR course will teach you how they are connected and introduce you to various approaches to tackle gender inequality.

From the author

This UNITAR course teaches you how gender equality is intimately linked to all Sustainable Development Goals. Learners will gain a deeper understanding of gender as it relates to development and learn tangible ways to tackle gender inequality around the world. This course is suited for gender-equity advocates, young people, and anyone interested in gender equality. It is a part of a series of UNITAR courses about the SDGs

What you will learn

  • Snapshot of Gender Issues
  • Twin Track Approach
  • Bangladesh Case Study

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals Lessons

Click through the microlessons below to preview this course. Each lesson is designed to deliver engaging and effective learning to your team in only minutes.

  1. Snapshot of Gender Issues - SDGs 1-10
  2. Snapshot of Gender Issues - SDGs 11-17
  3. Twin Track Approach
  4. Bangladesh Case Study
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Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals course excerpts

Snapshot of Gender Issues - SDGs 1-10

Learn about how gender issues interact with the Sustainable Development Goals. This lesson examines the relationship between gender and the first ten of the goals.

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals Course - Lesson Excerpt

** Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals** Snapshot of gender issues across the SDGs

They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

Gender equality is set out as a fundamental value of the SDG's.

“We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.” Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Declaration, Intro, Paragraph 3

Before we look at the Sustainable Development Goals in more detail, consider what Empowerment means to you.

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere More women than men live in poverty, especially during their peak childbearing years. Ensuring women’s access to basic services, control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services is key to achieving SDG 1.

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Unequal power relations in households render women more vulnerable to food insecurity. Legal reform for more equitable (re)distribution of assets, such as land and credit, and enforcing decent work and income for women in food production are necessary to achieve SDG 2.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages Societies should end practices that critically endanger women’s health and well-being. Governments should adopt pro-active legislations, and improve the provision of health services, especially for the poorest and survivors of violence. Access to skilled birth attendance is also a must.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all An estimated 15 million girls versus 10 million boys remain out of primary school, and higher numbers of girls drop out of secondary school for reasons including early pregnancy and the expectation that they should contribute to household work.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

One in five women and girls aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months.

Women spend three times more unpaid care work on average than men.

Which actions are necessary to improve unequal power relations in households, and therefore make women less vulnerable to food insecurity?

Which of these gender issues relate to SDG 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all)?

Snapshot of Gender Issues - SDGs 11-17

Learn about how gender issues interact with the Sustainable Development Goals. This lesson examines the relationship between gender and the last seven of the goals.

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals Course - Lesson Excerpt

** Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals** Snapshot of gender issues across the SDGs

Test your Knowledge In a sample of 141 countries over the period of 1981 to 2002, within societies with higher gender inequalities, it was found that natural disasters (and subsequent impacts) on average...

This lesson will cover Sustainable Development Goals 11-17.

Why is tackling climate change an important aspect of gender equality? Select all that apply

Goal 15: Stop degradation, we must preserve forest, desert and mountain ecosystems Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reserve land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Women, particularly those who are poor and living in rural areas, often depend on forests for fuel, fodder and food. Deforestation means spending many more hours each day walking long distances to secure these needs.

Their limited ownership of land reduces their capacity to adapt to losses or to make decisions about how land is used. While some have extensive knowledge about traditional practices that are inherently sustainable, this is often excluded from decisions about sustainable ecosystems.

Why is Goal 16 important? Select all that apply

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Achieving the SDGs for women and girls requires an enabling environment and a stronger commitment to partnership and cooperation. Increased mobilisation of financial resources for gender equality is urgently needed.

Twin Track Approach

Learn about the United Nation's Twin Track approach to addressing gender equality.

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals Course - Lesson Excerpt

** Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals** Twin Track Approach

Numerous studies and pieces of evidence from the past have shown that gender equality stimulates growth, generates employment and enhances human capital.

It is integral to achieving a wide range of development objectives, from poverty reduction to health and sanitation, food security and environmental sustainability, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction, and peaceful and inclusive societies.

Gender equality also makes significant contributions to the future, as women’s increased access to income and resources often bring greater health and education outcomes for their children, especially girls.

It is under this global understanding that gender equality is positioned as a pre-condition and accelerator for sustaining development and the achievement of all SDGs.

In order to make sure no one is ‘left behind,’ SDGs takes a Twin Track Approach by having a stand-alone goal on gender, SDG 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” and 45 targets & 53 indicators that are gender-specific & mainstreamed across the SDGs.

The Twin Track Approach aims to identify not only who is ‘left behind’ but also ‘how’ and in ‘which ways’ marginalisation and exclusion are experienced.

Differences related to wealth, location and ethnicity, for example, combine to create deep pockets of deprivation across a range of SDGs, from access to education (SDG4) and health care (SDG3) to clean water (SDG6) and decent work (SDG8).

In order to tackle these issues, SDG 5 addresses the root causes of discrimination that curtail women and girls’ rights in private and public spheres. SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Let's look at the targets for SDG5...

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

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

5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation

5.4 Recognise 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

5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and 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 conference

5.a 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

5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

5.c 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

Other targets and indicators that are gender mainstreamed serve to avoid gender blind interventions that not only ‘leave’ women and girls behind, but also deepen existing gender gaps and discriminations.

Indicators that call for sex-disaggregated data leads to more adequate and evidence-based interventions, as baseline data are set and gender needs are more likely to be addressed.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all Swipe across to learn about the 8 gender specific indicators

4.1.1 Minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics at the end of primary and lower secondary, by sex

4.2.1 Early childhood development, by sex 4.2.2 Pre-primary participation, by sex

4.3.1 Participation of youth and adults in education, by sex

4.5.1 Parity indices for all education indicators

4.6.1 Proficiency (at a given age group) in functional literacy and numeracy skills, by sex

4.7.1 Mainstreaming of global citizenship education, gender equality and human rights

4.a.1 Upgrade education facilities with hand washing and single-sex sanitation facilities

What's the definition of Gender Analysis?

Bangladesh Case Study

Learn more about the Twin Track Approach by relating it to an example case study.

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals Course - Lesson Excerpt

** Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals** Bangladesh Case Study

Let's look at the following case study and examine how it utilised the Twin Track Approach. On the following slides is a brief explanation of the situation and key strategies which were applied.

A case study from Bangladesh Action Against Hunger (ACF) implemented a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) pilot project in ten remote villages, targeting over 4,000 households, mostly female-headed households and poor women’s households highly exposed to disaster risks.

When a tropical storm struck, shortly after the end of the project, the women put in practice the disaster preparedness measures that were explained to them. They protected their lives and livelihoods, on their own initiative, without the intervention of the national disaster management system. There were three key project strategies, as follows...

Strategy 1 In each village, the project established both a Village Disaster Management Committee (VDMCs) and a Women’s Committee (WCs) through a gender-inclusive community-led approach.

Strategy 2 The project promoted gender equality and the importance of women’s participation in Disaster Risk Reduction practices, to enhance disaster resilience among vulnerable communities. It addressed gender specific issues that lead to women’s vulnerability, such as violence, sexual harassment and limited access to recover support. Women received capability building on early warning, nutrition for pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls’ reproductive health problems.

Strategy 3 The project provided direct livelihood support to female-headed households and women’s households living outside an embankment located in the project area. This helped them improve their incomes and food security.

Let's see how the SDG's Twin Track Approach was applied to this project...

First and foremost, the project was a disaster risk management project. This means that it involved GOAL 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

At the same time, the project put strong emphasis on gender inclusive decision-making, which is key in advancing gender equality. This intention strongly relates to SDG 5, ** Achieve gender equality and promote all women and girls**. Particularly important is Target 5.5, which is 'Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life'. During this project, Village Disaster Management Committees were composed of men only. Therefore, to establish the Women's Committees and position them as catalysts to raise and address gender issues shows the strong commitment of the project to make the project intervention inclusive and gender responsive. At first, women were difficult to mobilise due to cultural norms and practices. They had inadequate access to economic opportunities, low education, and low status within the community’s decision-making forums. Women's Committees gave women the space to discuss gender issues; meetings were organised at conducive hours for women, and slowly women began to participate in previously male-dominated discussions.

It was initially difficult to mobilise the women into participation in Women's Committees due to cultural norms and practices such as...

*Target 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.

Target 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.

The Women's Committees raised community awareness on gender specific vulnerabilities in disaster. It also played a vital role in disseminating information, including early warning messages being shared by WC members.

Course media gallery

Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals

UNITAR

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations system.

I have learned the role women play in society and for the attainment of the SDGs agenda, what needs to be done for women to participate. Eg equality in home, workforce, parliament representation.

Course rating

This course is so meaningful, especially for women. As a woman, I picked up something which I have overlooked before. More importantly, I like ppt because it is so funny that can catch my eyes.

Informative

Impressive and educative in relation to women's life and drowning a map for women life in future by 2030

Well said the realities

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