By Josephine Macharia
“Sustainable Development requires a human centered and equitable vision. Investing in women is the most important step for sustainable development,” Minister Lütfi Elvan.
Women role in the achievement of SDGs is key ranging from benefits of waged labor, food security, and nutrition, health, peace-building activities, to gender equality. Despite these critical roles, women and young girls continue to suffer the effects of poor healthcare, education, discriminatory policies, and societal norms.
The SDGs selected for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seek to address shortcomings facing the developing countries andwomen are critical to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges.
Women significantly contribute to poverty eradication, through education and economic empowerment. According to World Watch Institute on The critical role of women on sustainable development,educated mothers are twice likely to educate their children than uneducated ones.
Additionally, women participate in the household well-being through income from waged labor, entrepreneurial businesses, and agriculture -reducing the risks poor health, malnutrition and school dropouts. More programs training, loans availability, practical skills, and societal protection will empower and strengthen their performance.
“Women comprise on average 43 per cent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, and over 50 per cent in parts of Asia and Africa. Unfortunately, their potential contribution to food security remains constrained by unequal access to land and other productive assets” UN Women ESAR, 2015. Women in Agriculture can contribute significantly to global food security in absence of discriminative practices.
To enhance agricultural productivity there is need to train and provide access to information and technology to women farmers and advocate for equitable distribution of assets as such as land and credit.
Health and sanitation
Access to good health is a fundamental right of every individual. However, Unequal social and economic status hinders women from making empowered choices over their health unlike men.
Women in the developing countries have the unmet need for contraceptive despite family planning being a cost effective investment for any government.
According to World Watch institute, on the critical role of women in sustainable development, each U.S. dollar spent on family planning can save governments up to US$6 on health, housing, water, and other public services. Maternal mortality remains high in developing countries with only half of the expectant mothers receiving antenatal care. Woman and girls also stand as major victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, FGM, and child marriage. A more responsive health system will go far beyond in saving the girl child.
Women are key to building stronger societies, through representation in decision- making process in peace treaties and governance. Nevertheless, statistic of women participating, as negotiators, at peace tables remain low taking only 9 Percent as at 2011. UN women reports, that only 22 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female as of August 2015.
Women have likewise demonstrated loyalty by directly participating in armed forces to strengthen the nation security. By fully protecting women’s rights and backing their engagement in all aspects of peace negotiations, peace building and reconstruction for inclusive societies, a peaceful environment will be within reach.
Gender inequality and women empowerment
The universal vision of sustainable development is impossible, without the voice of women at decision-making tables. Gender equality and women empowerment is an intersecting feature in the 2030 agenda of sustainable development. Revolving around six targets
Let us make sure women remain an essential part of global growth.