“Promoting the ability of women to articulate their views in a meaningful way (voice) and to become the agents of their own empowerment (agency) is vital to overcome engrained sociocultural conditioning and the gendered division of labor [sic] in private and public spheres, whereby women and women’s interests are typically relegated an inferior and largely invisible status.” – Institute of Development Studies
By now, many of you have heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or goals established by the United Nations and its member states in 2000 as achievable by 2015. The MDGs focused in a variety of areas including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, and promoting gender equality and female empowerment. Although the MDGs were not without its criticisms, as not all subjects garnered enough attention to be included (i.e. increasing access to and training of skilled birth attendants), the MDGs are widely deemed a success in that they increased awareness and funds for global programming aimed at improving overall quality of life. However, with the year 2015 upon us, new goals must be set for the world to continue its path to progress.
Looking ahead, the United Nations is currently working to create a post-2015 global development agenda to succeed the MDGs. The United Nations’ ongoing campaign, “The World We Want 2015,” uses the voices of individuals from all corners of the world to help develop the upcoming priority themes. So far, gender surprisingly fails to be a stand-alone theme of the post-2015 agenda. However, this is not necessarily bad news. Because gender is currently regarded as a deeply cross-cutting issue,
“In the current debates around the post-2015 framework, there appears to be a growing consensus that gender must be integrated across any new framework.” – Institute of Development Studies.
For example, inequality, one theme of the post-2015 agenda, specifically labels gender as a key focus area on which to improve in the coming years. On The World We Want 2015’s website, found within the inequality thematic concentration is a 2013 publication from the Gender and Development Network titled, “Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Post-2015 Framework” outlines the need for gender equality in the post-2015 agenda and gives suggestions for how to improve upon data indicators and consultations.
The report also dissects lessons learned from achieving gender equality for the MDGs. Specifically, the report claims that, because MDG3 spotlighted gender equality, gender-related organizations around the world gained from using MDG3 as an advocacy tool to enhance legitimacy, increase political will, gain funding and spread awareness. Additionally, the report suggests that in order to make gender mainstreaming* effective, the post-2015 agenda must implement both projects to support girls’ and women’s empowerment as well as organizational gender mainstreaming.
When deciding the post-2015 agenda, we must listen to women around the world as they describe their future goals. We must not be swayed by opinions from political leaders and the media regarding how women half a world away may or may not be living. On the contrary, we must:
- Listen to women with real experience living in particular countries or regions;
- Advocate for women’s organizations that work to improve the lives of women in their region; and
- Spread awareness of The World We Want 2015 through social media platforms to increase the likelihood that women become the driving force behind its gender-related global initiatives.
By actively voicing your opinion regarding the post-2015 World We Want, you will immediately become an advocate and a global change agent.
“It is critical that women organizations across Africa ensure the Post 2015 consultations are driven, influenced and shaped by the voices and experiences of the millions of African citizens who often go unheard.” – FEMNET
To learn more about organizations doing amazing work for women around the world, please see below:
- FEMNET: The African Women’s Development and Communication Network
- Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR)
- Girls 20 Summit
Join the conversation by following The World We Want on Twitter @WorldWeWant2015 and use #beyond2015 #post2015 or #inequalities2015.
*Gender Mainstreaming: The process of assessing the implications for both men and women when initiating any planned action, legislation, policy or program.