We can’t talk about creating sustainable change and development without taking into account available resources. Engaging people and allowing more and more citizens – particularly women and girls – to actively participate in global processes and decision making bodies, and letting their opinions guide action, can be seen as costly or complicated. So how do we make this work in reality?
Yes, resources are relevant – but often, the one main thing women and girls really need to be able to meaningfully participate in decision making processes is support. Ensuring that women and girls are actively involved in the Sustainable Development Goals is crucial not only for the realization of the SDGs, but for gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment. We cannot strive towards a set of global goals with half of humanity left behind, or left outside of the rooms and spaces where decisions are made, agendas are crafted and priorities are set. Women and girls don’t just deserve a spot at the table – without them at the table, we will never reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
So how does this work in practice? For starters, we need to create more global organizations, agencies and bodies where women are at the forefront of making decisions and setting priorities. We need women in charge of existing organizations, like the United Nations. We need new workplace policies and new politics that promote gender equality and equal participation of women and girls. This won’t only benefit women and girls, but all of us. An article from Fast Company points out the following:
Women in leadership, like millennials, are a sign of successful companies. Of the participating organization, those in the top 20% financially had almost twice as many women in leadership roles, as well as more high-potential women holding those roles.
Engaging women and girls is not only right – it makes sense from the perspective of development, economics and sustainability. Without women and girls at the center of development and decision making, we will never reach the SDGs. They are a set of Goals for all humanity – not just half of it.
Featured image: Celebrations for International Women’s Day 2015. Photo by J. Carrier / UN Women (Creative Commons)