SDG 5 - Gender equality

SDG 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), 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. Unfortunately, at the current time, 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence. Progress is occurring regarding harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), which has declined by 30% in the past decade, but there is still much work to be done to complete eliminate such practices.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large. Implementing new legal frameworks regarding female equality in the workplace and the eradication of harmful practices targeted at women is crucial to ending the gender-based discrimination prevalent in many countries around the world.

Facts and Figures

  •     Globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18 and at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone FGM.
  •     In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working; in 39 countries, daughters and sons do not have equal inheritance rights; and 49 countries lack laws protecting women from domestic violence.
  •     One in five women and girls, including 19 per cent of women and girls aged 15 to 49, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner with the last 12 months. Yet, 49 countries have no laws that specifically protect women from such violence.
  •     While women have made important inroads into political office across the world, their representation in national parliaments at 23.7 per cent is still far from parity.
  •     Only 52 per cent of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.
  •     Globally, women are just 13 per cent of agricultural land holders.
  •     More than 100 countries have taken action to track budget allocations for gender equality.
  •     Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015.
  •     In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.
  •     In Southern Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped by over 40% since 2000.
  •     The rates of girls between 15-19 who are subjected to FGM (female genital mutilation) in the 30 countries where the practice is concentrated have dropped from 1 in 2 girls in 2000 to 1 in 3 girls by 2017.

Space-based technologies for SDG 5

Women remain under represented in STEM careers, including in the space sector. UNOOSA actively promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment in the space sector and wider STEM fields.  UNOOSA’s SPACE4WOMEN project will create a network of women in STEM careers, provide a platform for them to exchange and act as mentors to young women.
Read more here.

SDG 5 Targets

Learn more about the SDGs

Related Content

Article

Interview with Egline Tauya, Head of the Environment and Water Institute at SARDC

Egline Tauya has focussed her career on natural resource management, after growing up in a rural area and learning to value such resources from a young age. Her work has been based in Africa and has included the use space technologies to map flood risks and vulnerable areas around the Zambezi and Limpopo River basins. Egline develops Environmental Outlooks as part of her work, which are reports that provide an integrated assessment of the state and trends of key environmental resources, such as freshwater, forest, and wildlife. Egline strongly believes in the integration of indigenous knowledges into water resource management and the crucial, but currently limited use of remote sensing in groundwater monitoring.

Interview with Mina Konaka, Satellite engineer at JAXA

Mina Konaka works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a satellite engineer and is currently working on the satellite ALOS-4, which can detect changes in groundwater on land. She attended the International Space University, participating in the project AWARE (Adapting to Water and Air Realities on Earth), in which participants aimed to provide solutions for flood and air quality risks due to climate change, using earth observation data and ground-based sensors. Mina feels strongly about the need to talk more globally about water management solutions, rather than on an individual country basis. Mina also hopes that in the future there will be more female engineers who pursue dreams of space, and that gender balance is no longer an issue.

Interview with Valdilene Silva Siqueira

Valdilene Siqueira has a diverse background in chemistry and environmental engineering and is currently pursing a master’s degree in Sustainable Territorial Development. Her work and experience has always been closely tied to water management and sanitation. She believes that access to water and ensuring the sustainable management of water resources in a fast-paced changing world are two of the most important challenges for the coming years. Valdilene feels that achieving mutual understanding on how to manage this resource, especially in water-scarce regions, is a real challenge for decision-makers but considers that an intersectoral, integrated and participatory approach is capable of bringing stakeholders together to reconcile their different interests and build collective solutions. 

Space for Communities: Space-based evidence to support community rights to water

Satellite imagery can be used to identify and monitor environmental and social impacts, and help solve human problems around the world. Despite rapid advancements in space-based technologies, not enough people have access to satellite data and all the insights it offers. Satellite imagery provides an objective way of verifying or validating the testimony of communities who are being impacted by social or environmental harms.

Interview with Basuti Gerty Bolo

Basuti Gerty Bolo dreamt of space science and of becoming an astronaut when she was only 8 years old. She then wanted to be a pilot, before studying space applications and space and atmospheric science.  Her curiosity for space science was sparked by an interest in knowing more about unexplained mysteries of things happening in space, such as the cause of some plane crashes. Basuti works exceptionally hard to disseminate space knowledge. She is an Endowed Chair for Educational Technologies at Africa University in Zimbabwe, a UNOOSA Space for Women Network mentor, and is starting a space for women and girls network called Space4Women_AfricaDreamers to spread space awareness and promote gender equality.

Interview with Simonetta di Pippo

Simonetta di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, has experience in the space sector for around 40 years. She has been involved in some very instrumental missions, from those which helped to discover water on Mars, to landing on and exploring a comet, to those that helped sustain human life on the ISS. Her aspiration in life is to have a profession that allows her to work and learn at the same time, with her current career affording her this dream. Curiosity and diversity are both crucial in her opinion for innovation and it is her personal and professional goal to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers.

Women, water and space: The first geospatial rally for women in rural aqueducts

Can you imagine a group of young women empowering other women using geospatial technology? From July 10 to 13 July 2019 in the First Geospatial Rally for Women in Rural Aqueducts took place, where 30 women from very different contexts met with the same goal, to build an empowering space, in the Nicoya Campus (north of Costa Rica) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR). This was done with the intention to learn from each other.

Event