Gender equality is central to the achievement of majority of the SDGs, however has to be made a primary principal objective in the implementation of all the global goals, at national levels. Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls UN member states to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. In delivering it’s mandate to catalyze global solidarity for sustainable development, women and girls have to be seen as key partners in development and active economic agents.

SDG 17 is key to the implementation of all the other goals, as it addresses the shortcomings and insufficiently achieved agenda of MDG 8 which was aimed at catalyzing  global solidarity for sustainable development, where after monitoring and evaluations, was found weak in designing and implementing the mobilization of support from wealthier countries to deliver sufficiently on its mandated goal. In 2015 and beyond, Goal 17 thus has to play critical importance to achieving equality and inclusive development in revitalizing global partnerships, with a stronger focus on the role women play to ensure its significant accomplishment by 2030.

Globally, women on average are paid 24% less than men, where in developing regions, up to 95% of women’s employment is informal, in jobs that are unprotected by labour laws and lack social protection. This unequal economic participation is the inclusive cause of opportunity inequalities, power imbalances and income disparities that currently exit all over the world. Therefore, in implementing the finance, technology, capacity building, data and trade targets, UN Member States and national governments who have committed to the goals have to ensure that they back programs which improve access to women and girls’ education and healthcare as well as remove barriers to political participation, access to decent jobs and finance.

Gender segregation is evident in reality and there is a strong need to pay attention to the economic empowerment of women and access to high-quality education for girls. In 2012/2013 only 5% of foreign aid funding had gender equality as one of its primary objectives. Despite the fact that gender-based data is crucial to better define how to achieve gender equality, only about one third of countries have specific departments for gender statistics. In this case, it has to be known that technology is a key element to overcoming gender-specific barriers as it plays a significant role in bridging the knowledge and digital divide gap and thus plays a role as an enabler for women’s economic empowerment. Therefore, moving forward countries have to ensure that access to technology, knowledge and information is improved, that high-quality disaggregated data, monitoring progress methods and evaluation measurement tools are put in place and publicly readily available and accessible. Participation of women and girls is crucial in this process as they have to play an essential role in visibly demanding the accountability of all stakeholders for the full implementation of international norms and standards on gender equality and women’s empowerment, ensuring that national policies are accurately and efficiently implemented, leaving not one child, woman and adolescent behind.

Focusing on women’s economic empowerment is crucial in implementing north-south and south-south cooperation and partnerships, and therefore a commitment to adopt gender-sensitive and equity-responsive policies and agenda is vital to recognizing women’s issues and rights to putting women and girls at the center of the key means of implementation in fostering global partnerships.  To achieve this we need to enhance momentum in the construction and dissemination of disaggregated data, foster mechanisms that will allow women to productively engage in the socioeconomic development of countries, enhance womens’ political participation in all levels of decision making, allow for national policies and implementation strategies to reflect international gender equality standards and making gender mainstreaming the standard strategy in national government policy making.

In essence, women and girls constitute of the largest population in the world living in poverty, with higher barriers to accessing reproductive services and rights, education  and information, employment and finance opportunities, than their male counterparts. Thus, in the implementation of Goal 17 governments will have to address the unequal access to productive resources, the restriction of access to community managed service and prevalent provision of poor quality – to ensure that they make far-reaching contributions to create enabling environments to address the underlying structures of inequality which are crucial to consider within the mandate and objective to strengthen and revitalize global partnerships.

Illustrations for the SDG campaign have been made for Girls’ Globe by artist Elina Tuomi.

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