Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the world’s bold and universal global agenda – will depend on accelerated action. The Decade of Action calls for more effort and ambition across sectors between now and 2030, with a focus on advancing gender equality as a priority pillar and a cross-cutting enabler for achieving all the Goals.
In the next decade, the UN Foundation will focus on addressing some of the stubborn gaps that are undermining the achievement of SDG 5 and the entirety of the SDG framework, including the persistence of discriminatory laws and the global emergency that is gender-based violence.
Legal gender equality is a prerequisite for a gender-equal world and an inclusive, resilient economic recovery. Yet, only 10 countries consider women equal under the law. Women, on average, have three-quarters of the legal rights of men, and only half in the Middle East and North Africa.
These discriminatory laws affect every aspect of a woman’s life — from where she lives and works, to when and whom she marries, to whether she can open a bank account, inherit property or apply for a passport. While more than 1,500 reforms have been passed over the last five decades, and progress has been made in every region of the world, we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality under the law.
The UN Foundation is working with partners to improve knowledge about discriminatory laws that impede progress for girls and women and advocate for laws that protect the rights of girls and women in every aspect of their lives.
Violence against girls and women is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations. Globally, one-third of women, or approximately 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. In the past 12 months, approximately one in five girls and women, ages 15 to 49, has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and an estimated 137 women are killed by a partner or family member every day. The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening this crisis as global gender-based violence cases surge at an alarming rate.
To end gender-based violence (GBV), we need strong, active, and vibrant women’s rights groups and organizations working to end violence against women and girls in every community, country, or region. Mobilizing support to these local organizations is urgent. The UN Foundation has partnered with the Spotlight Initiative to provide a funding vehicle to frontline and first-response women’s organizations with critical resources to prevent and address GBV. The Fund is designed to put flexible funding into the hands of local grassroots women’s rights organizations who have been fighting GBV in their communities, especially as they navigate COVID-19 recovery.